Kevin Manton didn't need long to think about applying for the Chanhassen boys soccer head coach position.

A varsity assistant for two seasons, Manton wanted to continue what was building inside the Storm program.

"I thought about it for a little while, and I thought I got to go for it. Community-wise, this is great for me. I love it, and I love soccer. I have a senior (step-son) playing. I know these kids. I coached some of these kids up to the age of 14. When they offered me the job, they asked if I had time. Of course I got time. I really want to coach these kids," Manton said.

Barb Folsom, a coach for four-plus decades, at every level there it is, it seems, stepped up to fill the void as the Chanhassen girls swimming coach.

Folsom is the third Chanhassen head coach in three years following Kim Dahlgren and Aislin Rose.

A club coach at the Lifetime flagship in Eden Prairie, Folsom knows firsthand the relationship needed with the high school staff. With most of the Chanhassen team swimming club with WEST Express, Folsom looks to build off what Heidi Miler has started.

"They have to be here six days a week. That's it. The coaching levels are the same. We're all working with these kids to make them swim fast. We're all here to watch kids grow up, learn leadership skills. We're here to educate them and make them love their sport. I'm developing these same skills at Lifetime and the same here," Folsom said.

Manton's accent can't be confused with someone that grew up in northern Minnesota. He's a native of the United Kingdom. Worchester to be exact. Home of worcestershire sauce. Delicious.

He loves the game and he's loved the opportunity with Chanhassen, assisting Tom Szewczyk the past two seasons. With Szewczyk accepting an administrator position in Rosemount, the head coach job opened up.

Manton likes where the program was heading, so big changes are not needed. First and foremost, the rest of the coaching staff is intact. Moise Mjal Mang has been elevated to the varsity assistant role.

"We're going to build on what Tom did. He did a great job. It was a breath of fresh air when he came in and organized things. The coaching staff, we learned some stuff from last year that we are going to change up this year. We'll use a flexible formation. Form it around the talent we have," Manton said.

Hiring from within means Manton and the coaching staff have a good idea what's coming back. Eleven players that suited on varsity in 2018 are back including junior captains Christian Lange and Braeden Sanders.

The players, in turn, know what to expect from Manton and the coaching staff.

"I'm hoping the risk we took with some kids as freshmen, now juniors, up on varsity, I think that is paying off now. I'd like to experiment with different things, different kids on the field. See what we can do together," Manton said.

Chanhassen's first match is at Eden Prairie at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24.

For Folsom, her coaching journey has gone all over the world. Every place she landed, wonderful opportunities fell to her.

"That includes national level coaching, international level coaching, all the way up to the Olympic Trial level," Folsom said.

A Minnesota native, Folsom said a bulk of her coaching came in Texas where at one time she was coaching at the Woodlands Swim Team, a club ranked in the top-five in the country.

"I was at a point where I didn't want to coach anymore. That lasted for two months and I got tapped to go coach in Asia and help international schools in Jakarta, Singapore and Bangkok. ... They convinced them to bring me over there to start developing the teams and build the programs up. That led to me working to develop a national team for the China Olympics. I was working boom, boom, boom," Folsom said.

A bout of cancer forced Folsom to return to Minnesota. Once in remission, she walked into Lifetime, looking for a coaching job. She was hired the next day. The current coach at the time was departing.

Folsom worked at the Lifetime in Chanhassen for 4 1/2 years before moving to Arizona for seven months, helping her son and daughter-in-law, who was then recently diagnosed with Lymphoma. Her son just three years before that had T-Cell Leukemia.

Upon her return to Minnesota once again, Folsom was transferred to the Eden Prairie club where she's been building a swim program after since.

"We just came off a very successful season where I had one of the fastest 10-year-olds in the nation. She just walked in for swim lessons. She was high point at state, high point at Zones, and there's no limit to what this kid is going to accomplish," Folsom said. "And it's the same here. I know what Heidi has done with these girls at WEST Express. I'm excited to work with her and them to take them to the next level."

Chanhassen's first meet is Thursday, Aug. 22 in a double dual meet at Eden Prairie with Chaska at 5 p.m.


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