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Eric White takes girls soccer helm at Canyon High School

Canyon grad returns as new coach

Posted: August 15, 2008 8:48 p.m.
Updated: October 17, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Eric White, a 1999 Canyon High grad, has come back to coach girls soccer at his alma mater. Eric White, a 1999 Canyon High grad, has come back to coach girls soccer at his alma mater.
Eric White, a 1999 Canyon High grad, has come back to coach girls soccer at his alma mater.

Eric White is trying to maintain a winning tradition as the new head coach of the Canyon High School varsity girls soccer team.

"We're excited about the year," he said. "So far, they (the squad) have the right mindset ... it's how much the team works together. Our team goal will be to win league and to have a nice solid run at success."

The former assistant coach, player and Canyon graduate (class of 1999) faces the challenge of guiding the Cowboys to its first Foothill League championship since 2005.

Last season, Canyon finished second in league with a 5-1-3 record (10-4-5 overall). Canyon's season ended on Feb. 13 in the CIF-SS Division I playoffs, with a 2-1 loss at home to Newbury Park.

"I'm stoked," White added. "I've been a part of it (the team) the past four years. My overall philosophy is trying to instill a sense of discipline, so in practices we get them ready for games. We're getting them ready for the next level."

For the past two seasons, Keelee Payden was the girls soccer head coach. In both years, Canyon finished second in the league. She recently married and will be the new physical education teacher at Delano High School near Bakersfield.

From 1999 to 2005, Canyon won four league titles.

"There was a time was Canyon was untouchable," White said. "There's a ton of tradition here."

With that tradition, occasionally the pressure of winning games got to the team.

"There were times where they've been their own worst enemy," he said.

In the 2006 and ‘07 winter sports seasons, White was the varsity girls assistant coach.

He was also part of one of the biggest youth movements in the Santa Clarita Valley, the club soccer scene.
In 2007, he was the head coach of the under-17 club team, the Santa Clarita Magic. That squad won five tournaments out of the eight it competed in, and was within a few penalty kicks of winning another. White's club team finished in third place out of 12 teams. It was three points away from first place in the 12-team Cal South Silver Elite division.

"Club is huge around here," White said. "I've been a part of girls soccer for about eight years."

During his playing days, the Cowboys boys soccer team won league in 1998, before he joined the Marine Corps for eight years. He spent a year in the Phoenix area in Arizona, before joining Canyon as its junior varsity girls head coach in 2003.

"They say for every year you're in the Marine Corps, you age two years," White said.

Even with eight seniors graduating - including leading goal scorer Courtney Belschein - Canyon appears to be a strong team this season, which begins Nov. 28 at San Marcos. There were five juniors who played on last season's team, all of whom are likely to return this season. White said sweeper Mulian Cabrera, who was named first team all-League last season, could be the leading goal scorer. Midfielder Kaylee Kirk and striker Elvia Contreras, are also key returners. Goalkeepers Alex Krall and Kristen Grunhold, could battle for the starting position.

As far as stategy goes, the new skipper admitted that he plans on instilling a 3-5-2 offense.

"We're hoping to be, at times, a little bit of everything," White said. "We're trying to establish a good first touch. We want to keep teams off-balance, so they don't know where we're going to attack from."


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