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As a student at Paris High School, Justin Frazier was a standout on the soccer team. Then, after completing his higher education, he joined his alma mater’s soccer staff as an assistant coach to the program. Now, he takes charge of the Wildcats’ as their latest head coach, following the departure of the former head coach Clint Cobb.

“I grew up playing, and soccer has just always been a big part of my life,” Frazier said. “To now be coaching for this team that I love and that I played for myself is kind of surreal, honestly.”

Prior to this promotion, Frazier has spent the past 10 years as an assistant coach for the team, and in that span the boys soccer team has reached great heights, winning the district title in each of those years.

Frazier said the Wildcats’ proud soccer reputation isn’t lost on him, and he plans on continuing the team’s legacy of success.

“It’s something very special we’ve got going on over here,” he said with a smile. “It’s definitely something I don’t plan on letting change under my watch.”

Frazier said the reason for Paris’ success over the years is simple: its players love to play the game.

“We’ve got tons of guys who just play soccer nonstop,” he said. “When other guys are in their offseason, we’ve got kids playing on travel teams, and really just playing any chance they get free time too. I think we’re as good as we are because these kids have a passion for the game that is second to none.”

Frazier said his coaching style is more laid back, allowing the players to often figure things out in the flow of the game.

“In my opinion, practices are where the coaching happens,” he said. “I’m not going to be super vocal on the sideline (during games) unless I need to be.”

During games, he said, his philosophy is to divide time between honing players’ skills and helping them understand the intricacies of the sport.

“I’d say my philosophy is to divide focus between skills and the X’s and O’s,” he said.

Looking ahead to next year, Frazier said he’s excited with the roster he has.

“We’re losing Miguel (Rivera), who was one of the best scorers I’ve ever seen at the high school level, but we’ve also got a ton of returning players who are all hard workers and excellent players as well. It should be a fun year.”

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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