Goodson discusses time with SSU men’s socceer


PORTSMOUTH — After 23 seasons as the head coach of the Shawnee State University men’s soccer program, former coach and SSU alum Ron Goodson has joined the retirement realm from coaching.

Entering his final season in 2021, Goodson coached 55 all-conference players. He also coached the Bears to match the program’s best overall record in school history in 2019 with a 9-9-1 finish.

“I just felt it was time. I wanted to spend more time with my wife (Anita),” Goodson said, of retiring from the position. “She made a huge sacrifice for me being gone so much coaching — on the road with recruiting and games.”

Goodson has been a teacher in the Clay Local Schools district for 25 years while coaching the men’s soccer program. Those roles combined to serve as essentially two full-time jobs for over two decades in Scioto County.

“That was my goal, to teach and coach. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a grind at times, it’s a lot of work,” Goodson said. “It’s a full time job for not full time pay.”

11 of Goodson’s players earned academic All-Mid South Conference honors since SSU became a member of the MSC — a school-record. The message to his players of applying as much hard work in the classroom as they did on the pitch was one that resonated with his teams.

“It was a definite priority. The first year I coached after being an assistant, I had been familiar with a lot of the players. When I came back to Shawnee after Clay, I had five players left on the roster. I knew academics was going to be a focus because if you don’t succeed in the classroom, you’re not going to be available to me on the field,” Goodson said. “Always tried to stress academics first.”

Several area high school coaches were players at the collegiate level under Goodson, including Northwest’s Josh Keeney, Minford’s Jacob Hackworth, and Valley’s Jacob Perry.

He said seeing his player’s involvement in the youth programs of the area has helped renew a focus on the game in Scioto County and the surrounding area.

“Locally for sure. When I started playing locally, there was two teams in the area. Now there’s two leagues in the SOC. You’ve got more programs, boys and girls programs. You have parents who played socceer with kids now. One of the things I’m most proud of is that locally, the Northwest, Valley, Minford, North Adams coaches played for me. I’ve got several guys who once their playing career ended, they got into coaching to help keep that interest going.”

Goodson said he was appreciative for SSU former athletic director Jim Arnzen for the opportunity to lead the program during two stints as the head coach, as well as his assistant coaches throughout the years.

“I’d start with Jim Arnzen, he was the athletic director when I was hired. He called me after I went to Clay and wanted me to come back. I’ve had good people around me. Bryan Smith was my assistant the first year, he went on to start the girls program at Shawnee. Mark Trapp was someone I had for 17 years as an assistant. Drew Sampson played for me and now he’s an assistant. The last few years it’s been Ryan Warner and Dylan Whitehead.”

Shawnee State women’s soccer coach Natasha Ademakinwa, who is entering her fifth season as the women’s coach this fall, was hired as the newest men’s coach following Goodson’s retirement in January.

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