When his first season as head coach of the Northeast Lauderdale boys soccer team was over, Noah Johnson took a few of his players for a visit at Southwest Mississippi Community College to meet with head soccer coach Alex Brown.
Johnson went into the visit to show his players a possible landing spot for them after high school. He came out of it with a new job.
“He asked me, how would I like to be one of his assistants this year,” Johnson said of Brown. “He asked me, and I took him up on it.”
Johnson will serve as an assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s teams as Brown coaches both. He said he will work primarily with the goalkeepers.
Brown knew Johnson from their days refereeing high school games together during college, Brown at Southwest Mississippi and Johnson at Copiah-Lincoln. When the two got to talking during the visit, Brown said he thought Johnson would be a good fit.
“We both felt like it was a good opportunity,” Brown said. “(He brings) a lot of energy and passion. He knows the game.”
Johnson said his experience as a collegiate and semi-pro soccer player, and as a high school and college referee, helped him in landing the job. He’s looking forward to coaching at the college level, too.
“Most of these kids that are coming in already know how to play soccer, and they’re good,” Johnson said. “I just want to give them the best training I can for them to be able to apply it to the field (to) get the outcome we want.”
The 23-year-old will continue as head coach at Northeast Lauderdale. Southwest Mississippi’s season runs until the end of October, which is when the Trojans’ season begins. When offered the job, he said he wanted to keep his current position at Northeast and made it work. He is moving to Southwest Mississippi in Summit and will live there for three months before returning to Meridian.
Johnson hopes to incorporate what he learns as a college coach into the high school game, like new drills and tactics.
“I’m just going to take it all in and just try to figure out how the program is run, coaching-wise,” Johnson said. “I want to learn and bring it to the high school level.”
Johnson is joining a men’s program that went 13-4-1 last year and reached the NJCAA Region 23 playoffs. The women’s team went 1-12-1.
“It’s more technical,” Johnson said of the college game. “It’s more advanced than the high school level, so I’m pretty pumped.”