Grateful to be Across the Pond / Jace Aymond
England is a country with an insurmountable love for football, or soccer as we like to call it in America. With all the soccer teams that England has to offer at all levels, the United States has much more due to its larger size and population. For many aspiring players across the pond, they will choose to start, continue, or end their careers in the land of the free and home of the brave. Coach Adam Johnson with the women’s soccer team fits perfectly into this category.
Born in Huddersfield, England, Johnson played soccer for most of his life but also graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in business. At around the same time, Johnson won multiple championships with Albion Park in Australia and also played semi-professionally for Thackley FC in England.
He made his transition to America a few years later where he attended and played for Hinds Community College in Raymond. There, he graduated with an associate’s degree in 2011 and made the All-Region team that same year. As he closes out his now 10th year with the Mississippi College women’s soccer team, he’s also coached at Jackson Academy and is the current Director of Player Development with the Brilla Juniors here in Clinton.
Johnson claims that his start to soccer gave him new insight on the game, saying, “I was educated on soccer in the streets of England. I didn’t really play for a coach and the game taught me. When I started coaching, I went to Australia and I came here, so I’ve got a whole new perspective. I have much different thoughts on the game of soccer than I did 10 years ago when I came here.”
He also points out the vast difference in how the game is played amongst different countries, as “here, it’s a very physically athletic game with a lot of speed. In Australia and Europe where I played, it’s more advanced and strategic.”
Ironically, it was Kevin Johns, the men’s soccer coach, who introduced Johnson to Head Coach Darryl Longabaugh. After talking and getting along well initially, Longabaugh felt “at ease in making him the offer to join our staff.”
His players here at MC also enjoy his being on the staff and the positive attitude he always brings.
Junior midfielder Avery Hederman is thankful that “with him, it’s a lot easier to understand what he’s saying when we do talk one-on-one so we’re able to have a regular conversation. Adam [Johnson] does a really good job of trying to make soccer a lot of fun. Whenever he’s around, it’s always really lighthearted and he tries to keep the mood light. He also makes it more fun to learn about the game and so the way that he coaches makes the girls a lot more interested in learning about the actual tactics of soccer.”
But most importantly, Longabaugh is more than glad that he welcomed Johnson onto his staff 10 years ago.
“If he left tomorrow, he left the program better than it was when he got here,” Longabaugh states. “From professionalism, to tactics, to recruiting, he’s come up with some great ideas and we’ve implemented them and they’ve done very well. He would have left the program in better shape than it was when he got here.”
With all the people he’s met and experiences he’s shared with his team, Johnson truly knows that “it’s an amazing job to be able to not only coach soccer, but impact young persons’ lives. This job doesn’t exist where I’m from, but soccer has given me a lot of opportunities around the world, and this is just another incredible one. It’s really exciting and I’m extremely grateful for everything that I have here.”
In his now 10 years at Mississippi College as the Associate Head Coach, Johnson has accumulated an impressive 131-48-14 record and was here for the program’s transition back into Division II. The women’s soccer team at Mississippi College has seen tons of recent success, and it’s obvious to see that Adam Johnson has been one of the major factors of this in his time at MC. Now living in Madison, Mississippi, it seems that making the trip across the pond was a decision he’ll never regret.