February 24, 2017
When the Marquette Catholic High School boys’ soccer team takes to the pitch this fall, it will have a new head coach in Joe Burchett.
Burchett, an assistant coach under Jeremy Sanfilippo last season, will take over coaching duties starting the 2017 season. Burchett says his time at Marquette has been great so far and he is looking forward to being head coach.
“The support at Marquette has been very good,” Burchett says. “Principal (Mike) Slaughter and (athletic director) Jack Holmes have been very gracious with me, so I’m pretty pleased with them giving me this opportunity.”
Under Sanfilippo last season as an assistant, Burchett helped the Explorers compile a 12-7-2 record. Prior to that, he was a head coach for three years at Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, where he had a combined record of 34-18-9. He also has coached youth soccer for the Lou Fusz Soccer Club and the Gateway Rush Soccer Club.
Holmes is excited to have him on board as head soccer coach. He says Burchett stood out as the obvious candidate after Sanfilippo stepped down.
“We had several inquiries about the position, and we interviewed those applicants. But Joe was the obvious candidate. Not that the others weren’t good, but he was that much better,” Holmes said. “He had a resumé that was pretty impressive. And he auditioned by the fact that he was our assistant last year, and when you do a good job, that is always a big positive.”
Burchett brings a lifetime of experience with the sport of soccer. As a child he started playing the sport in 1973, and played through high school and club soccer. He suffered an injury and was unable to continue playing, but started coaching when his son was old enough to play and has been coaching for 20 years now.
Through coaching, Burchett got to know Sanfilippo. They shared ideas about how soccer should be played and eventually became friends.
“For a lot of years I coached against (Sanfilippo),” Burchett said. “He coached at the Lou Fusz Soccer Club, and I coached at the club as well for about 7 or 8 years, and then we also coached against each other at Althoff and Marquette. We had some similar thoughts and ideas about the game; we were similar in the way that we trained. There might be a little bit of difference, but a lot of it was pretty similar; our expectations of players was pretty similar. I was pleased to have that opportunity to be with Jeremy.”
After a successful season coaching together at Marquette, where they won 12 games before losing 2-0 in the regional semifinal against defending Class 2A state champ Waterloo, Sanfilippo made the decision to step down.
Sanfilippo spent 7 seasons at the helm of the Explorers, including leading them to the 1A state championship in 2012.
“The reason Jeremy got out, he’s got two kids playing soccer in college.” Holmes said. “His girl is at Northern Illinois and his boy is at St. Ambrose and it was really killing him last year. He doesn’t want to have to go through that; he wants to go and watch them in literally all of their games and being a father and having 6 children myself, I understand what that’s all about.”
Burchett said the experience last year as assistant coach gives him insight on how to run the team this year.
“It’s going to be an easier transition for me since I was there last year,” he said. “I got to know a lot of the players; I had some input during some games. (Sanfilippo) allowed that flexibility with me to assist; if I had something to say, he gave me the freedom to say it. So the boys will be familiar to me. I think it was a really good group of boys. They accepted me, they were responsive to me and I don’t expect there will be much to learn.”
Burchett plans to run a summer camp before the season starts in August, and says he is hopeful about this year’s team because of the wealth of returning players.
“We lost a few seniors, not a ton,” Burchett said. “There’s a lot of experience returning. I think we’ll be as good; I would like to think that we could do a little bit better, but that will yet to be seen. Last year we started a lot of freshman and sophomores, so this year we will see them as sophomores and juniors getting that starting time.”
Holmes also says he is excited for Burchett to get started, and that word so far is that both players and parents are satisfied with the choice.
“The kids liked him and they worked hard for him last year,” Holmes said. “The unofficial feedback so far has been tremendous.”
- See more at: http://advantagenews.com/sports/burchett-takes-over-reins-at-marquette/#sthash.alSt4fhE.dpuf