CEDAR RAPIDS — Despite coaching the Cedar Rapids Rampage United outdoor soccer team to a playoff berth this summer, that didn’t mean the playing days were over for Hewerton Moreira.
After all, the 36-year-old Brazil native led the Major Arena Soccer League with 29 assists last season for the Rampage indoor team, which happened to be in the market for a new coach.
This talented combination of playing ability plus coaching acumen gave franchise Co-Owner/General Manager Chris Kokalis the confidence to name Moreira as player/coach of the indoor team, which begins its second season this fall.
“The hardest decision was, OK I’m going to be playing, I’m going to be coaching and I’m going to have to be really organized at practice time to do very minimum coaching during the game,” Moreira said after a downtown press conference Thursday. “It’s more like the little details. Can I get players that I want? Can I get an assistant coach to just stay outside? Just little details like that. Once we got all the details, he’s like, ‘Let’s do it.’”
Moreira succeeds Jeff Kraft, who was let go in March after the 5-15 debut season. After the indoor season – his 11th as a player – Moreira was hired to coach the outdoor Rampage United, which earned a berth in the Premier League of America tournament.
“The decision came after I watched what he was able to do with the outdoor team,” Kokalis said.
This fall’s indoor roster includes 10 players that have now spent a year together playing for both the indoor and outdoor teams.
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“Their passion for soccer, it’s fantastic,” Moreira said. “Their passion, their desire, they want to make something happen. They also love to give back to the community. Soccer is about that.”
Moreira will oversee a round of player tryouts for the indoor team next month in preparation for the start of the new MASL season in late October.
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