Professional coach steps in to finish the season in place of Ramon Del Campo
With only a few weeks before league play starts, the 8-3 boys soccer team learned who their new head coach would be: Adam Smith, Fresno’s first ever full-time professional coach. Smith steps into the high school world straight from coaching the now defunct Fresno Football Club, a professional team in the USL.
Last year, under the leadership of former Fresno FC player, Ramon Del Campo, the boys recovered from a previous 0-10 season in league to go on a promising playoff run. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Ramon’s professional career lead him to sign to the Las Vegas Lights Football Club.
Smith encouraged Del Campo to seek the coaching job at FCS in the first place, and now looks forward to continuing the work he started. Smith explains why he sought out the coaching position.
“Unfortunately, with the circumstances that arose and Ramon having to leave to sign for his new team early, it left the team without a coach,” Smith said. “And I wanted to help. I’m in the area, I’m here, and I didn’t want to see the guys run into a situation where they didn’t have a coach that could continue the good work that Ramon had done.”
After playing as a professional goalkeeper in the UK and the US, Smith started coaching with a professional team in Wilmington, North Carolina. His coaching career brought him to the Portland Timbers in the MLS, Sacramento Republic FC in the USL, and most recently, Fresno FC, who in their recent season finished with a 16-9 record.
Along with many upperclassmen on his team, defender and captain Jacob Hyatt, ’21, has played for three different head coaches throughout high school. Hyatt says Smith is particularly suited for coaching the Eagles.
“The first few practices have been really good,” Hyatt said. “We’ve seen how Ramon has been influenced by him and we’re getting the coaching from the source. He’s very technical and I like that he understands the game of soccer and he’s very clear in what he wants from us.”
The following tweet features the Eagle’s strong showing at the Garces Tournament in Bakersfield.
The @fresnochristian boys soccer team takes 1st place in the Garces Holiday Tournament! The Eagles place first in the gold bracket division after defeating Mission Prep, 3-1, and Mammoth, 7-0. Great job boys! #TheFeather pic.twitter.com/M45bt8xksy
— The Feather Online (@thefeather) December 15, 2019
The Eagles started their season with a four-game win streak, and finished first in the gold bracket of the Garces Tournament. They have also garnered experience against Division V, IV and II teams. Smith says he hopes to further the success the team experienced under Del Campo.
“My main objective is trying to continue the good work, to have a good experience and develop some relationships,” Smith said. “But, I would like to win as well. I am a winner and I do want to try and be the best I can be at whatever it is I’m doing, and whatever it is my team is doing.”
When it comes to winning, Smith holds high hopes for the boys. He says his confidence comes from watching them play under Del Campo.
“I think they have a good comradery amongst the group, I think they play for each other,” Smith continued. “And they really want to work hard. In the times that I have seen them prior to becoming their coach, I think the sheer determination and the desire amongst the group is something that’s going to carry them forward.”
In the following podcast, Bryce Foshee interviews Adam Smith his role as soccer coach for the FCS Eagles.
Smith’s enthusiasm for success is echoed by senior captain Richie Cortez. Cortez, who watched Smith coach at Fresno FC matches, says his spirit is already adding to the team’s confidence.
“The best part about having him as a coach is the experience he’s had in his career,” Cortez said. “He’s trained with high class players and he’s played as well. So it just helps us as players knowing that our coach is serious about his task and will do whatever it takes to win.”
This year’s starting lineup is lead mostly by veteran upperclassmen, but freshman Jakob Rieker is one of the underclassmen contributing as a midfielder. Rieker says the team has much respect for their new coach.
“He’s different than Ramon, which is cool,” Rieker said. “Another thing that’s cool is that he pushes us through, he expects us to do a lot. And he’s a great coach, he has lots of experience, so I feel like we are going to do well with him.”
The boys face nine more games in the regular season, six of which are league matches. While their non-league victories set them up for a high playoff seed, the Eagles still face tough league games against WCPA and Summit Charter.
Hyatt believes the team has room for improvement before the postseason. He says Smith’s coaching abilities will further the team’s strengths.
“I’m looking forward to how he has so many years of experience and he’ll know what each individual of us needs to make the second half of the season the best it can be,” Hyatt said. “We’re going to have some tough matches coming up and I think that him being at the helm is going to help us a lot.”
Their next home game is a non-league match vs Parlier, Jan. 23, followed by a league face-off with WCPA the next day. Stay tuned as The Feather continues to cover winter sports.
WATCH: KMPH Fox 26 reporter Sammi Jo Francis published a video about Adam Smith’s arrival at Fresno Christian.
For more articles, read Sid Craig School of Business prepares students for worldwide business, opportunities and Boys soccer box scores 2019-2020.
The slideshow below includes images from Smith’s first game coaching FC boys soccer against Dinuba, Jan. 9
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