During the Sept. 29 game against Grandview High School, coach Johnny Chain watches the field. Varsity won 2-1.

Coaching Through Change

Despite Changing World, Chain Always Drawn Back To Coaching

     Entering his fifteenth year of coaching with the North Kansas City School District, head soccer coach Johnny Chain focuses on finding happiness and purpose in life. 

     Although Chain has always had passion for soccer, it was never a long term goal to be a teacher or a coach. He originally majored in exercise and fitness management.

During senior night Oct. 18, coach Johnny Chain shakes senior Preston Assee’s hand. (Jillian Burks)

     “I never thought I would be a full-time coach,” Chain said. “It is just something I enjoyed doing at the time.”

     While attending college, Chain’s high school coach asked him to start coaching.  

     “My coach back from Oklahoma called me to come coach, and from then I fell in love with it,” Chain said. “That is what really drove me to start coaching the club team at the college I was attending.”

     Shortly after graduating, he accepted an assistant coaching position at Wingate University in North Carolina. 

     “I drove all the way out to Charlotte in my little white Nissan Sentra, and the day I got there the head coach quit, so I had to become the interim head coach,” Chain said.

     Although having a great experience in Wingate, Chain said he missed his family and decided to move back to Kansas City, Missouri, to pursue a career more within his original major.        

     “Certainly along the way there’s a lot of things that happened when I first moved,” Chain said. “I didn’t know if I wanted to continue to teach and coach soccer.”  

     That is when Chain explored other careers.

     “I started to manage a local gym,” Chain said. “I started dabbling in real estate. I got away from teaching but eventually came back to it. I was coaching at William Jewell College.”  

     Chain fondly remembers his time at Wingate and a piece of advice someone gave him.          

     “I remember my old assistant coach told me once I got back to Kansas City that I would be a coach and a teacher,” Chain said. “I didn’t believe him at the time. I just felt there’s something calling me back, I got called back into coaching three different times.”

     That is when Chain pursued the needed credentials to become a teacher in the state of Missouri. 

     “When I got back into teaching, I started in this alternative program, and that hit my heart even more,” Chain said. “For kids that a regular classroom setting doesn’t work for them every day. It became a calling of mine that I had no clue of.”

     Chain gives insight on why he doesn’t take a single day for granted.  

     “My favorite parts of my day are when my feet hit the floor every morning,” Chain said. “I’ve been sick a few times. I’ve had some things going on in my life, so I don’t take that for granted. When I wake up, it’s a good day.”

     He did have some advice for people who may find themselves in a similar position.     

     “As you go through college you will see what is important to you,” Chain said. “Sometimes you have to branch out. There will always be those things that call you back in. Along the story there are peaks and valleys.” 

     He said people have to cope with the lows to enjoy the highs.

     “It’s all about knowing how to survive the valleys,” Chain said. “Don’t let the highs get too high at the peak. Try to maintain that healthy level because there will be those bad days we’ve got to learn how to fight through them.”

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