In October of 2020, I found out that I had won the 2019 California Boys Youth Rec Coach of the Year,
almost exactly a year to the day from when I had coached my final game in 2019, and what has turned out
to be my final game coached to the present day. I had every expectation of coaching in 2020, but
to say that 2020 has changed plans and altered timelines is an understatement. Along those lines,
Koach Karl offered me the opportunity to contribute an article to Karl’s Komments newsletter back in
October… and here we are on the cusp of 2021, and I’m finally putting it together. Such has been the reality of 2020.
In some ways though, the symmetry is fitting. My final game coached was in October 2019, and I won
the award in October 2020, I found out that I had won CYSA D7 Boys Rec Coach of the Year and was subsequently
nominated for the State award at the start of 2020, and now I’m contributing Karl’s Komments at the start of 2021.
I’d like to look backward to the end of 2019, and then forward to 2021 – sort of skipping 2020 altogether!
I’d first like to thank our League President, Carmen Saucedo, and the rest of the Executive Board of the
Clovis Crossfire Soccer League. That award came with the nomination for D7 Rec Coach of the Year, and I’d
like to thank John Hodgson and the D7 Board for then honoring me with D7 Rec Coach of the Year and nomination
for State Coach of the Year. I’d finally like to thank the Cal North Board for awarding me with the
2019 California Boys Youth Rec Coach of the Year award. It was a tremendous surprise and true honor to have
been given the Crossfire Rec Coach of the Year Award, and every subsequent award has been astonishing.
Getting to coach youth soccer has been one of my true pleasures every year, and to be recognized by my friends
and peers with these awards has been very humbling. I didn’t get to give an acceptance speech at the banquet
in Pleasanton this year as it was canceled just prior to the first lockdowns but had I had the opportunity,
I would have extended by heartfelt thanks to everyone listed above, as well as to my good friend and long-time
assistant coach James Hill and my wife Sommer – their support and counsel every year has helped me to be a better coach and person.
Looking forward to 2021, I’m hopeful that we will emerge from the pandemic with an opportunity to return to
youth sports in the summer. Losing the opportunity to coach has made me realize how much I enjoy it, and while
a part of me was secretly thinking it might be nice to take a year off, the truth is that I’ve really missed it.
I’ve realized that the boys, the parents (no, really!), the camaraderie, and the competition are all much more
important to me than I would have guessed. It is a great honor to get to lead players, model hard work and
commitment, and try to build the skills our kids will need in life, through the beautiful game of soccer.
The loss and the sadness of 2020 have caused our family to “reset”, with a new focus on what is important and
meaningful in life. In the middle of a season, and sometimes in the middle of a game, it’s easy to lose focus
on who we are out there for, and why we are out there in the first place. We are out there for the kids, and
we are coaching to share the game we love, to grow better little humans, and maybe grow a little ourselves.
In the words of the legendary Jurgen Klopp, “football is the most important, of the least important things”.
Thank you again to everyone who was involved in my nominations and selections for the various Coach of the Year awards,
and to Koach Karl for the opportunity to get to do so in his newsletter. Here’s to seeing everyone out on the field again in 2021!
Woods Soccer Club