Holt squared: Coach's younger brother doesn't feel pressure

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Feb. 16, 2006 - Andy Holt tries not to treat Jon Holt any differently than the other players on the Wildcat soccer team, but there is a catch. The head coach doesn't have any other brothers playing for him.

"You'd like to say it's not different, but I think it is," Coach Holt admitted. "I catch myself being a little harder on him just because he is my brother and I know I can do that.

"I think he's handled it very well. I guess our relationship is good enough that he understands that's the coaching part of me and that's just part of it."

Jon, a senior captain for the Wildcats, is a two-year starter who was named Second Team All-District midfielder for the 2006 team that was the most successful squad in school history.

This year, he has played numerous positions, including shootout goalie, as he has battled various injuries. He has also played midfield, sweeper, stopper and will start at left back tonight against North Lamar. Jon said he doesn't really care where he plays.

"It's a lot of fun, and I'm just out here to have some fun and win some games," Jon said. "Yeah, I can do whatever he needs. Wherever he puts me, I'll do the best I can. I like playing different positions, it's a lot of fun."

Part of his ability to move around is Jon's laid-back attitude. He wasn't fazed by the pressure in football when he kicked the game-winning field goal against Mount Pleasant in the fall, and he takes just about anything that comes his way in stride.

But, Coach Holt said Jon's laid-back appearance hides a competitor.

"He's a happy-go-luck guy, and you can put him in pressure situations and he doesn't even realize the pressure," Andy said. "That's what good about putting him in shootouts, because his attitude about just getting out and playing serves him well.

"But, he gets intense when it's time to get intense. He works hard."

Jon and classmate Graham Northcutt were voted team captains by their peers, an indication of his willingness to work hard and his positive attitude.

"It's been rewarding to see him develop and grow as a player and as a person," Coach Holt said. "Being selected as one of the captains is a high honor and it says a lot about him as an individual. He's a positive leader and a positive guy and he portrays that on the practice field and the game field."

On the field, Jon's 6-2 height allows him to win balls in the air. He also has good speed (he was a receiver in football until his senior season when he strictly went to kicking and punting) and a high skill-level.

He is also a student of the game, evidenced that he wants to be a coach. He said he wasn't necessarily influenced into that decision by his older brother.

"I just want to deal with soccer for the rest of my life," he said. "I love soccer."

Notes: The Wildcats (2-2-0-1, seven points) travel to North Lamar (nine points) tonight for a District 16-4A game. With a regulation win, Sulphur Springs would leapfrog NL into fourth place. Game time is set for 7:15 p.m. at Maddox Stadium in Paris.

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