The timing of Sebastian Burset’s run ended up working perfectly.
Burset’s been involved in coaching youth soccer since he was a student at the University of Illinois, but the situation had never worked out for him to be able to lead a high school program, primarily due to conflicts with what his day job happened to be at the time.
That changed this year, though, when Burset started working at Northfield Middle School and the head coaching position for the girls soccer team at Northfield High School opened up.
“When I saw the opportunity this time, since I’m now working for the middle school, everything worked out,” Burset said. “I’m available and I have everything I need.”
Burset, a native of Argentina, has most recently served as the director of player development and coaching for the Northfield Soccer Association, in addition to coaching an under-17 girls team this summer with the Lakeville Soccer Club.
He started coaching soccer in Champaign, Illinois, where he spent 2 1/2 years, starting in 2007, as the student manager for the University of Illinois women’s soccer team, in addition to coaching youth soccer at a rec center in town.
“When I started doing the different activities with the kids, Burset said,” I decided that this is what I wanted to do.”
He eventually landed in Northfield in 2012 after his wife accepted a job at St. Olaf College, and he spent two years as the freshman coach for the girls soccer team in Northfield. He then spent a few years coaching a variety of boys teams in the summer through the Northfield Soccer Association, winning a state title in 2011 with the under-11 team.
While he hasn’t directly coached any of the girls set to play for the Raiders next year, he’s still familiar with a few through his work with the NSA.
“I know some of the girls because I saw them during the summer in NSA, and some of the coaches that are coaching them have talked to me about it,” Burset said. “Mainly, I know the captains right now. It’s going to be a learning opportunity, and we’ll get to know each other more, and they’ll get to know my coaching style and how I like things to be done.”
He’s met the team once already after accepting the position in May, and after captain’s practices start July 15, he’ll have the opportunity to start implementing some of his ideas when preseason practices start Aug. 13 in preparation for the program’s shift to Class 1AA this season.
Ideally, Burset said, Northfield will mix the free-flowing brand of soccer that gives the sport the moniker of “The Beautiful Game,” with a dash of the discipline Burset has gleaned through his experience with martial arts, which he picked up while still living in Argentina.
“One of the things I’ve related to the training is the discipline,” Burset said. “I want my players to have that, whether it’s individual or as a group. There needs to be a certain discipline when you’re playing the game or doing an activity.”
That will all be displayed most times through a 4-3-3 formation, Burset said, which features four defenders playing behind trios of midfielders and forwards. That can change, though, depending on the game and the opponent.
Burset will also be joined by at least one experienced assistant in Mauricio Lozada, who played for the Northfield boys soccer team and is now an assistant coach at St. Olaf in addition to working as the director of player development for Lakeville Soccer Club.
Together, they’ll attempt to instill their style of soccer featuring plenty of ball movement, complete with runs on and off the ball, although Burset said it may not be a short journey to the final result.
“In order for someone to put something like that together, it will take more than one season,” Burset said. “We know where we’re going and we know what we’ll like to see.”