Keeping it in the family

Pedro+Simonetti+%2716+leads+a+cheer+at+the+2015+Back-to-School+Assembly.+This+year+he+returned+to+campus+as+the+boys%27+JV2+soccer+coach.+

Hillary Currier

Pedro Simonetti '16 leads a cheer at the 2015 Back-to-School Assembly. This year he returned to campus as the boys' JV2 soccer coach.

By Allegra Wesson, Features Editor

Pedro Simonetti is the new JV 2 freshman coach. He played on the varsity soccer team for four years in high school, and now finds a way to continue his passion for soccer as a coach.

 

His freshman year was spent at Southridge High School, and then he transferred to Tigard High School and graduated in 2016. Playing on the varsity soccer team for four years gave him the chance to grow and expand dramatically as a player.

 

“My experience through high school was great. four years of varsity is an opportunity that not a lot of people get, and to be one of those people that did was really cool. It really helped me mature as a player and understand my role on the team,” Simonetti said.

 

After graduation Simonetti continued to play soccer at Northwest Christian University, but he had to stop playing due to a back injury. Even being unable to play, he still wanted to be involved in soccer somehow, although he didn’t know how that could be accomplished. His plan was to help the varsity team here in some fashion as an assistant coach, until his dad, the varsity head coach, approached him about the opportunity to be the coach for JV 2 freshman team.

 

“At first I was hesitant because it’s a lot of responsibility and it’s a lot of work, and I didn’t think I was ready for it. But, I’m very, very happy with my choice because I’ve loved all of this,” Simonetti said.  

 

Simonetti understood that for most of the kids on the team, JV 2 was just going to be a starting point and they want to reach higher than that. He worked on crafting them into the best players they could be so they could reach whatever goal they may have.

 

“My main goal with this team is to develop them into being better players. Winning is an important thing in terms of competition, and it’s nice to get a positive result; but these player’s careers don’t lie on the JV 2 team. They have bigger goals than that, which to get to JV or varsity, and become better players. My personal goal is to help them reach theirs and push them forward,” Simonetti said.

At the beginning, there were some problems with the teamwork and chemistry between the players along with a few players being too hard on themselves. He had to lay down the goals and expectation that they were going to have for this year as a team.

 

“Their attitude changed from night to day. These kids went from being just regular freshman boys to some of the most hardworking boys that I have ever experienced as a player and as a coach. Their attitudes and their willing and desire to get better has been unbelievable,” Simonetti said.

 

Simonetti also had to teach them a better attitude to have towards the game. He explained that they shouldn’t be as focused in on the win as they should on becoming players, as they will eventually earn the win if they work hard enough.

 

“They shouldn’t win because of winning itself. They should win because they earned the win. The only way to do that is to get better as a player. So they became okay with failure not because they were giving up, but because failure is a part of becoming successful. You have to fall in a life to get somewhere every once in awhile. It’s great to see that they were able to overcome of their mental struggles,” Simonetti said.

 

Coaching for the freshman team was a bit of a challenge since many of them have played recreational soccer for most of their lives, they had to play in a position they never had done before, and some haven’t even played on a team before. Simonetti had to teach them the fundamentals of playing soccer.

 

Simonetti is different from the other coaches as he is still in college. That provides the advantage of having a more flexible schedule than the others, since most coaches have nine-to-five jobs, but sometimes the time management can be a little tough for him. He has to dedicate a lot of his spare time to coach the team.

 

“What really [caught] me off guard was the amount of work that you have to do on your own time aside from practice, games, training, and things like that,” Simonetti said. “You really have to dedicate a good portion of your life to studying the game from a different level and understanding your players and really staying up late. It’s almost like studying for a test.”

 

Even though his previous experience playing on a varsity team helped, there is a big difference between just being a player on a team and coaching. Simonetti took the responsibility seriously, working hard on developing himself as a supportive coach that can help everybody on the team.

 

“There’s some nights where you gotta stay up and sacrifice some hours of sleep to really to further your knowledge. I’m not playing so my talent and my skills and my physical abilities don’t matter. What matters is if I am able to communicate, guide, and teach these players how to be successful,” Simonetti said. “To do that in way where it works for everyone’s learning ability and personality and it matches in a way that everyone can understand on the same skill level, it kind of difficult. You have to cater to a lot of different people.”

The soccer players on the team have had a positive experience with the new coach too.

 

“It was pretty fun having him as coach because he’s funny and since he’s so young; he’s had some of the same teachers so he could share some pretty interesting stories.” freshman soccer player Lucas Freudenthal said.  

 

Athletic Director Alan Boschma hires the head coaches and checks the assistant coaches that are hired if there is any problems with them. He didn’t feel concerned with Simonetti’s young age and says that the administration would rehire him for next year.

 

“I’ve watched him coach. He conducts himself in a really positive adult matter,” Boschma said.

 

Now that their season is over, Simonetti is helping to coach varsity. If school allows it and he gets the opportunity once more, he says he would spend more years in the future coaching since he had such an enjoyable experience this year.