The Rider Lady Raiders soccer team has had one constant the past 24 years and that's head coach Carl Wiersema. Coming off a 1-0 victory over Birdville to advance in the playoffs we caught up with Coach Weirsema to find out why he chose to stay in Wichita Falls and build a winning tradition at Rider high school.
"First of all Wichita Falls is a great place to live great place to raise a family and that brings me to Rider."
Head coach Carl Weirsema has been on the sidelines coaching Rider girls soccer since 1995. Before that he was the head coach of Bluefield College and he took what he learned their and brought it with him.
"At first i did a lot of thinking about this, says coach Weirsema. Because I had just come from men's collegiate program and you know i just thought to myself soccer is soccer and were going to play good so I told the girls the first year I was here I'm going to train you like a men's college team and you're either going to get with it or we can find something else to do."
Coach is also known for his iconic wide brim hat he wears at every game. He says originally it was just to stay out of the sun. But now it means so much more to him and his players.
"I came from Florida and the first year I was here it was 115 in the summer, says Weirsema. And i needed to protect myself so my wife and I.. her mom lived out in New Mexico and we go out to visit there and i saw this hat that was wide brimmed and figured it might help with the nose and the ears and the back of the neck with the sun so I put it on and kept it on you know."
"When he takes that hat off and he crumbles it in his hand we know we are in trouble, says senior midfielder Michaela Zapata. But the hat means a lot i mean you can see it all the way away you know he's coming or the blue truck but it means a lot.
"Its not so much as when we see the hat its like when we see the hat being thrown down that means we are in trouble, says senior defender Carly Kowalick. But if we win state whoever wins state gets to sign his mane that team gets to sign on the hat and he gets a new one so that's pretty cool."
Rider has one of the best and most consistent programs in the state, but still haven't won a state title. That's a goal his current players really want to help him accomplish.
"You have to have kids that really want it, says coach Weirsema. And I'm blessed with great talent these kids really want to succeed so its just fun to come out and do it."
"It would mean a lot we got really close our sophomore year, says Zapata. I know a lot of girls...We really want it and that's all that matters if we want it we will get it."
"Well he deserves it , says Kowalick. We have been training and he has been working for us so much putting time in and I just know it would mean so much for all of us."
The Lady Raiders await the winner of the Eaton/Colleyville Heritage game.