Jason McLead is excited about returning to the Westerville North girls soccer program.
After being away for one season as an assistant with the Olentangy Orange boys program, McLead will lead the Warriors this fall, pending school board approval.
McLead was an assistant with North from 2013-18, but left for Orange when Brett Weiss took over the Pioneers in 2019. Weiss was the North girls coach from 2013-17.
“One of the most exciting things is going back,” McLead said. “One of the hardest announcements I have had to make as a coach was telling the girls that I was going to Orange. I’m excited to speak to them about coming back. I know the girls in the program well.”
McLead will replace Ricky Konkolewski, who left after two seasons to lead the Olentangy Liberty boys. McLead was an assistant under Konkolewski in 2018, when North lost to Watterson 3-0 in a Division I district final to finish 9-10-1.
Last fall, the Warriors defeated Hilliard Bradley 1-0 to win their first district championship since 2007. They lost to Dublin Coffman 3-0 in a regional semifinal to finish 15-4-1.
“Jason has a great vision for the program. He knows the talent that’s here and that excited us,” athletics director Wes Elifritz said. “We know he can continue the culture and success of the program, and he works well with the girls.”
It will be the first head-coaching position for McLead, who graduated from Delaware in 1993 and is an Ohio State graduate. He did not start coaching until 2009, when he was an assistant baseball coach at Big Walnut. Weiss coaxed him into helping out with the Golden Eagles’ boys soccer program before both moved on to North in 2013.
“Being a teacher at North, it’s great to be back and involved with the kids,” said McLead, who is an intervention specialist at North. “I want to continue the success and the growth of the program.
“ ‘Always together’ is going to be our motto. We want all of the levels -- varsity, j.v. and freshman -- to work as a unit. We want to continue to have fun, and I’m excited to get back to work.”
The Warriors expect to return their top scorer in junior forward Makayla Parry. She had 12 goals and seven assists last fall and was first-team all-district and all-OCC-Buckeye Division.
Sophomore forward Alison Rothmann (second-team all-league) had eight goals and three assists.
Freshman midfielder Cori Bohan and freshman defender Patricia Moore also started in the regional semifinal. Sophomore midfielder Sophie Bordron was a key substitute.