Steffen Blair

Love of the Game: Blair Takes Over Warren Boys Soccer Program Built on Family and Culture

April 2, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – Steffen Blair has been around Warren soccer nearly his entire life, and now he’ll get a chance to lead from the top, as he was recently named the head boys soccer coach at Warren Area High School.

Blair, a former standout for the Dragons who has served as an assistant in past seasons, will take over the head coaching role at WAHS after Denny Flatt stepped down following the 2002 season. Flatt collected 83 wins in his seven seasons at the helm.

“Five years ago I started coaching just to help out and be around my brother’s (Colin) senior season,” Blair said. “The culture that Denny (Flatt), Chris (Darling) and Mike (Kiehl) have created reminded me a lot of what I had growing up. They helped me so much as a coach and as a leader.”

Blair’s roots with Warren soccer run deep, going all the way back to when he was a young boy playing with Kinzua. A 2015 WAHS graduate, he was a key cog for a team that won the D10 title in 2014, the last Warren team to do so

He takes over a program that is in strong shape, coming off a 13-6 season.

“It’s a program that’s given a lot to me and meant a lot to me,” Blair said. “I’ve played my entire life. There are a lot of factors in there. The biggest thing for me is the youth development in Warren being so unique and finding the right balance between structure and giving kids room to grow and enjoy the game. I grew up with coaches like Mark and Ben Bauer who brought a family atmosphere and love of the game. That’s a tradition I hope to carry forward.”

The Dragons lose some talented players to graduation, but also return a talented core that Blair has already got to work with and knows very well.

“I’m super excited,” Blair said. “This is probably the most excited I’ve been about a team in the last five years. We are losing some talent for sure. Parks (Ordiway) and Jack (Darling) have been staples of the program. The core of our team is so young that I’m really excited coming into it.”

Blair said it’s important to have the right coaches around him, and he’s found a strong connection with Justin Norris.

“Since Justin joined, we’ve had great chemistry,” Blair said. “That’s something I was worried about. I wanted the right people around me. I’m excited to continue working with him.”

As for Blair’s vision for the program, it’s one of continued development at the youth levels and a focus on the long term.

“I think the biggest thing for me coming into this, is any successful program, it starts at the grassroots level,” Blair said. “It’s about implementing the right philosophy into youth development to build something sustainable, rather than game to game or season to season.”

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