Miami Palmetto High senior Lucas Sowma is having the time of his life coaching the Southwood Middle School boys’ soccer team. The team will play in a semifinal match against South Dade Middle on November 23.
He’s been coaching almost since school started. Tryouts were held in early September and the playoff will go past mid-November.
He decided to take on the coaching job because he enjoyed his two years playing soccer at Southwood.
“I heard they didn’t have the coach,” he says. “I wanted the middle schoolers to have the same opportunity I did.”
He and his friend P.K. Stoffle are co-head coaches. There are 22 boys on the team. While most of the boys knew how to play, there were some positions they didn’t have players for.
“We had to take a few kids and teach them techniques,” he says. “They are learning well.”
On his high school soccer team, Sowma is a goalie. So, he takes special interest in coaching the three goal keepers.
“It’s more personal than talking to the 19 other kids,” he says. “I see that their positioning is off. Their footwork is an important aspect. It’s pretty basic when it comes to goal keeping but it’s pretty important.”
The boys have practiced every day Monday through Thursday for a couple of months. The practice has paid off, the team won two and lost two and made it to the playoffs.
He likes coaching.
“I’ve never been a coach before. It’s interesting to see it from that perspective,” he says. “And all the struggle of my coaches in the past.”
Now that he’s a coach, he observes the game from the outside.
“It’s opened my eyes to how the game should be played,” he says. “Before it was a first-person point of view, but that I’m seeing the whole perspective, it’s changed things.”
This will be Sowma’s fourth year on the varsity team. He is coming back from a hand injury last year, which forced him to sit out two-three months.
He also played for the Coral States Strikers Travel team.
“Last year we went to Colorado for nationals and across the state for other tournaments,” he says.
While he’d like to play soccer in college, he’s more interested in going to college for academics, however, he won’t close the door to being recruited.
He’s interested in taking computer engineering as a major although he’s not fully decided yet.
He’s applying to in state schools including the University of Florida, Florida State, the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University.
At Palmetto he’s a member of the National Honor Society, the Psychology Honor Society, the Health Information Project (HIP) and Key Club.
Sowma says he enjoys going to ninth grade classrooms to teach important health information to the ninth graders.
“You get to spread knowledge to your peers,” he says. “I feel like I’m actually making a difference.”
He says the younger students respond well to the lessons.
“In the beginning, they don’t know what to expect. Gradually they began to respond and it became interactive,” he says. “It just takes a little time for them to warm up to us a little bit.”
He’s also enjoying being in the Psychology Honor Society. Club members had booths a community events to spread suicide prevention awareness where they gave out temporary tattoos.
With Key Club he participates in walks and food and donation drives.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld