Paul James

Growing up in Spooner, WI., Mooney decided to attend UW-Superior. He was an athlete alumnus and played soccer from 2001-2004 and graduated in 2006. Mooney always knew he wanted to be a coach, yet he wasn’t always so confident in making coaching as a career job.

As a matter of fact, his dream was to be a college coach. While Mooney was little, he was interested in history and thought he would be a history teacher.

Mooney has a good history the UWS campus winning his fourth Upper Midwest Athletics Conference Coach of the Year this season. He gives a nod to the faculty and staff here and the culture UWS sports has. “I think we truly have one of the best collections of coaches in this entire country,” Mooney said. He also thinks our administration wants our student-athletes to have a great experience and have made it a priority to give students the necessary resources for academic success. “Beyond that, I really feel our school is a magnet for great students,” Mooney said.

As for as what brought Mooney to Superior, growing up in Spooner, he and his family spent a lot of time in the Twin Ports, so the transition was easy.

Photos by Holden Law

The biggest challenge Mooney has found has been balancing work with his family. He always feels as if there is more to give his team; yet he also wants to make sure he spends time with his family, too. He feels very fortunate to have a wife and children who embrace his passion for coaching and his love of his soccer team. His kids are huge fans of the UW-Superior men’s soccer team and think of some of the players like brothers according to Mooney.

Mooney gets excited for game day, especially watching his players perform in their own elements. They put a ton of work into training and preparation, and game day is their opportunity to showcase that work.

He has also learned to appreciate moments where his team is not perfect. “It gives us a blueprint for what to work on when we get back into that training phase,” Mooney said. He and his soccer team have adopted the phrase: “TRY. FAIL. FIX.” and constantly use that as their process.

Mooney loves the training and practicing process. It allows his players an environment to maximize their potential. “I think the relationships he creates with each and every player is what truly makes him stand out,” said Alex Paredes, the goalie for the Yellowjackets.

A balance between enjoyment and intensity is very important for Mooney and his players. “If were doing it right, players leave training exhausted, drenched in sweat, but with a big smile on their face,” Mooney said.

What Mooney talks to his players about after a heartbreaking loss is the difference between regret and disappointment. There will be times a game will leave everybody very disappointed, including the fans. They are unable to avoid this, unfortunately. If his team plays in a way that we are avoiding disappointment, they are playing not to lose. Mooney thinks they play better when they are trying to win, not just trying to avoid a loss. If his team does fail, they will be disappointed, and it might take some time to get over this, but they can over time accept that.

Regret is a lot more difficult to get over for he and his players. If his players play with heart, they can always leave the soccer field with no regret and can better learn to accept that performance. Take the NCAA Tournament loss for example, the team was very disappointed with the loss and devastated to see the season close.

However, Mooney believes every player trained, prepared, and played to the best of their ability. If they are going to lose, Mooney would rather lose knowing they did everything they possibly could have done, rather than thinking about the what-ifs afterwards. When they give it their all it has taught Mooney to love winning more than he hates losing.