By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Grant Shanahan has a lot on his plate.
The 22-year-old Albuquerque native holds down a part-time job in Clovis, while taking 15 hours toward a business administration and economics degree at Eastern New Mexico University and he’s volunteering 15-20 hours per week to help coach the Portales Ram soccer team.
“It’s a great help to me,” assistant coach Scott Parker said. “This is my first year coaching soccer. I’ve coached for 27 years, but never soccer.”
Shanahan has been playing soccer since he was 5 years old, first in Albuquerque’s American Youth Soccer Organization. Then he played in the Duke City soccer league before starting three years on Sandia High School’s varsity soccer team.
Shanahan also played two years with the Greyhound soccer team before ankle surgery forced him off the pitch.
He was at the chiropractor late this summer, when he heard about the school district’s desperate search for help with the boys soccer program.
“Coach Parker’s daughter works there and she was talking about it, I was like, ‘Oh, that would be fun.’ So I got his number and I gave him a call and it all just worked out,” Shanahan said. “I love it. It’s just a good way to spend my time, since I’m not playing soccer I may as well coach it and give these guys the knowledge that I’ve learned over the years.”
“It’s real admirable that he wants to step in and work with the kids,” Portales head soccer coach Traci Sievers said. “It’s been a tremendous help because once we got him on board, I was able to start spending some more time with the girls program instead of running back and forth between the two.”
Shanahan’s knowledge and experience seems to be a perfect match for the Rams first-year program.
“Playing the game as long as he has, you can see things a lot quicker,” Parker said. “In that aspect, he’s a lot quicker in making decisions and that comes along with playing as many years as he has.”
“It’s a good starter team,” Shanahan said. “The defense is excellent. I’ve taught them some things but a lot of it is just them playing how they play, so the team, as a whole, is a good first-year program.”
The Rams and Lady Rams host the Clovis junior varsity this afternoon at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Portales soccer fields.
“I don’t have any complaints,” Shanahan said. “They all work hard and they’re wanting to play the game, and I’m just happy that I can show them the right way to play it.”