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Coaches Joining Forces

Posted: February 1, 2008 5:47 a.m.
Updated: April 3, 2008 2:02 a.m.
You've seen them scream and pull their hair out over losses at Hart and The Master's College. Now check out the softer side.

Former Hart High girls soccer head coach Jose Leon and The Master's College's current men's soccer head coach Jim Rickard have joined forces as technical directors for the Select Cities Soccer Club, a youth organization formed by Leon just over two years ago.
The partnership between the coaches was forged out of a similar philosophy - one that has nothing to do with victories and everything to do with growing.
"I don't like a lot of emphasis on winning," Leon said. "For me, it's more important to build friendships and skills without putting a lot of pressure on kids."
It's with those ideals in mind that Leon started the club.
It was created in honor of his friend Craig Eomurian, a former co-coach of Leon's who died in 1995. He shared Leon's ideas about putting development first.
"Our team together was the Avalanche, so for him all of the girls teams we have are called the Avalanche," Leon said. "I decided to start this all for him."
Based in Newhall, with practices at Newhall Park, the organization started with six teams. The co-ed group has expanded to 15, with more expected to add soon.
The teams range in ages from U9 to U16 with 10 girls teams and five boys.
Leon ran the show by himself for the first two seasons. Now with Rickard in the mix, he will focus on the girls teams while Rickard will lend his expertise toward directing the boys teams.
While each squad will have its own head coaches with Leon and Rickard not able to attend all of the games at the same time, they'll be the ones in charge of all teams, coaching the coaches.
"I'll set up what we want to accomplish," Rickard said. "I share a lot of the same ideas about coaching that Jose does. The goal is not to be one of these hardcore coaches who takes winning above all else. We're more concerned with developing them as players, and if they decide they want to continue playing soccer, that's great. If not, that's fine, too."
No player, Rickard said, will be stuck playing only one position. Whereas as the coach of the Mustangs at the college level, he'd put the best goalkeeper in goal and the best scorer at forward, he'll give the kids variety.
"Winning says that if someone's your best goalie, they play there every game," he said. "Winning says you only play your best players. Development says these kids are just 10, 11 years old. That's crazy. I think Jose and I both share that same approach."
With Rickard on board, Leon is expecting more growth in teams. The TMC coach has been working the sidelines for the Mustangs for the past 17 years as its head coach. Rickard, who was selected as the National Christian College Athletic Association Coach of the Year this season, was a former team captain as a player for the Mustangs.
"We have at least two teams joining just because of him coming to our team," Leon said.
While Rickard's duties with The Master's will create some time conflicts, he said a pair of former TMC players, Syian Wignal and Evan Cox will be there to help out. He's confident, though, his schedule will accommodate time to handle both of his responsibilities.


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