Michael Alvarez, an assistant coach for the last two years, has been named the boys soccer coach at Carson High School.
Alvarez takes over for Mehdi Samii, who resigned after guiding the Senators into the regional playoffs. Carson made one state playoff appearance in Samii’s tenure. Samii compiled a 20-9-8 record, including a regional title in 2012.
Alvarez, 50, coached AYSO and club soccer near Olympia, Wash., for many years. He lived in Mexico City for 16 years, and speaks Spanish fluently, a big plus at Carson, considering their recent teams have been dominated by Latino players. This is his first high school head coaching assignment.
“He’s been here a couple of years, and he knows the kids and he’s here on campus so he sees the kids all the time,” said CHS athletic director Bob Bateman. “He knows the game well. He is also fluent in Spanish which is a big plus.”
“It (the language) is big in terms of dealing with the parents,” Alvarez said. “Most of the players speak English very well. Some of the parents don’t know English as well.”
Alvarez takes over a program that has been a perennial playoff team. It has, however, been a program that has dealt with a lot of academic issues and attitude/anger issues.
The new coach is already dealing with those two problem areas.
“I’m looking for four things from the kids,” Alvarez said. “I’m looking for commitment, work ethic, responsibility and respect. I’m looking for coachable kids, on and off the field. I want them to be great soccer players, but I also want them to be productive people. They need to understand that there is life after soccer.
“We had some academic problems.
“When I took over as coach, I told the players that no academic probation was allowed. They either have to have the grades to play or they don’t play. Unfortunately we have lost three or four players because of grades (for this year). I think it’s a combination of the student-athlete not looking at the big picture as far as his future goes. How well you do academically is the key to success in life. They have to remember they are student-athletes, and they are students first. I expect them to have the grades coming into tryouts and to maintain them during the season.”
Tryouts start the first day of school and will last three days, according to Alvarez. He said he is keeping 18 players this year in an effort to give players more playing time. At times last year, Carson suited up more than 20 varsity players.
“When I first took over, I thought it would be a rebuilding year,” Alvarez said. “We lost a lot of senior players, but I think we have a chance to be a very successful team. We’ll be young in goal.
“We have four players that are keepers, and one of them is going to have to step up and play varsity.”
Alvarez does have Guillermo Hernandez and Ryan Galvan back. Both were good scorers a year ago.
Alvarez will employ a different philosophy than Samii.
“Mehdi was a defensive minded coach,” Alvarez said. “My goal is to bring out our offense more.”
Alvarez, after talking with football coach Blair Roman, is going to start taping his games and putting the film on the Huddl web-site.
“You can talk and talk about what a player is doing or not doing,” Alvarez said. “By taping the games, we can use it as a visual coaching tool. I’ll break the tape down, and players will be able to see what they are or aren’t doing.”