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Kot clears coaching benchmark

September 29, 2012
Kjestine Steinbring - Sentinel Sports Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

Winning 76 games overall, in addition to winning a piece of the South Central Conference title three years in a row, is no small feat.

It is even more impressive when you consider that Fairmont Area's head boys soccer coach Jeff Kot has managed to do all of that with a program that he started just seven years ago.

The Cardinals' head coach has always known that he wanted the sport of soccer in his life, but with his dedication and passion for the sport, he has helped bring the athletic endeavor into many other people's lives as well.

Article Photos

SAGE ADVICE — Fairmont Area head boys soccer coach Jeff Kot (back right) offers advice to Cardinal defender Joe Washa (back left), Oscar Svenfelt (front left), Sam Havnen (3) and Carter Welchlin prior to the team’s game against New Prague on Monday night at Mahoney Field in Fairmont. Kot went on to earn the 76th victory of his seven-year varsity coaching career. Photo by Leanna Becker

Not only was Kot a major driving force behind Fairmont getting a youth soccer program, but he has helped the Fairmont Soccer Association grow extensively in a short amount of time.

When Kot helped organize the youth soccer program in its first year - 1985, there were 35 kids participating. In the past 27 years, those numbers have grown exponentially, where there are now more than 500 kids participating.

"I wanted to give the city a youth soccer program. I thought that in order to make it strong, we started with our original group and built both up to the older ages, and also down to the younger ages. The strong foundation was crucial," said Kot.

Since the beginning of the youth program, not only have more kids participated, but Fairmont was able to join the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association in 2006. That same year, Fairmont Area soccer was approved as a high school sport.

In the Cardinals' first season with Kot as the head coach, the team went 12-5. The second and third years didn't go quite as well, and Fairmont finished 8-9-2 and 3-12-3, respectively.

Since 2009 though, the Cardinals have not only had a winning season, but also have clinched the SCC championship.

In 2009 and 2010, Fairmont shared the title with New Ulm and St. Peter, finishing 14-5 and 11-5-3 overall.

Last season, the Cardinals finished just two games away from the state tournament with a 16-2 record and claimed the conference title outright for the first time.

With all of Fairmont's soccer success, Kot still seems to be the driving force behind Cardinals' soccer.

"I always knew that I wanted to have soccer in my life in some form. And players can do amazing things when you push them the right way. I tell them to do something and they go right out on the field and do it," said Kot.

It is that great passion for the game that has motivated Kot from the time he was a player at Burnsville High School. A three-year starter for a young Blaze soccer team, Kot never focused solely on one position, instead just wanted to play the game.

"Soccer is such a great game, because anyone can play it. If you are younger or older, it doesn't matter," said Kot. "I just wanted to get as many people as I could to have it in their life at some point or another."

While Kot may no longer be in charge of the Fairmont Youth Program; his 76 wins this far in his career, and his contributions to Fairmont soccer already have been noted as the soccer fields he envisioned are now a part of the Jeff Kot Soccer Complex.

"I think people think they named these fields after me because I'm always out here," said Kot. "I do the painting and keep up the fields. But a guy has to have somewhere he can be alone and think."



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