by Michael Smith
It all started when then Grain Valley girls soccer coach Tyler Nichol reached out to one of his former players.
Two-time all-state selection Blake Desselle was asked to talk to the Grain Valley girls soccer team when it made it to the Class 3 final four last season. Afterall, Desselle has been there before.
Desselle was a part of the first Eagles boys team to make it to the state final four during his senior season in 2015. He led the team to a 20-7-1 record and a third-place finish.
Now he’s going to try and help the Eagles in a different way. Two weeks ago, first-year head coach Brett Lewis contacted Desselle to be an assistant coach for the girls team. The William Jewell graduate didn’t hesitate to say yes and is now on the sidelines.
This is the first coaching job for Desselle, but he has plenty of experience with soccer. After playing for the Eagles, he spent one season with Rockhurst University before transferring to William Jewell College, where he played his final three seasons.
“I have always wanted to coach,” Desselle said. “It was just the right timing. Brett called me two weeks ago and asked if I wanted to be an assistant and I was 100 percent ready to do it. I am super excited to join the team.”
And Lewis is excited to add Desselle to the staff.
“Blake and I have been really close over the past few years,” Lewis said. “I have kept in contact with him. He has played on my men’s indoor soccer league team with me and we both went to Jewell. He’s a good coach and he knows the game pretty well."
Desselle also knows many of the players on the girls soccer team as he is a head sports performance coach at EXOS Physical Therapy and Sports Performance in Grain Valley. A few players go there to train with Desselle.
“I liked the fact that he was already comfortable around these girls,” Lewis said. “He’s in the community and is an alumni. There are a lot of positives for bringing him in.”
He said he’s learning about coaching under Lewis and has enjoyed his time as an assistant thus far.
“I have been helping Lewis with some training stuff,” Desselle said. “I am working with a lot of young kids which is awesome. That sophomore class with Emma Thiessen is super fun to watch.”
And he hopes to help the Eagles replicate the success they had last season.
“We have the talent and the right mindset to get there,” Desselle said of Grain Valley’s goal to make it back to the final four.
Blake Desselle has joined the Eagles as assistant coach. Photo credit: Michael Smith