Vikings’ soccer coach passes torch
After 12 years, four state titles and perhaps one of the winningest coaching tenures in South Tahoe history, Chris DeLeon is hanging up his Vikings’ whistle.
The varsity girls soccer coach officially stepped down this week, and junior varsity coach Jeremy Evans will step into the varsity role this fall. Evans, who worked with DeLeon for the past three years, is ready to take the reigns and has already compiled some impressive coaching numbers of his own.
But before looking at South Tahoe’s bright soccer future, let’s take a minute to remember its impressive past.
Coach DeLeon left some big cleats to fill. He produced 11 winning seasons in his 12 years at South Tahoe. He earned four state titles, two with the boys and two with the girls, and coached nine teams to the state playoffs.
“If there was anybody I could have learned from, he would have been my No. 1 pick,” Evans said. “It’s amazing how successful he’s been as a coach, and not just because he had good players, but because he knew how to take good players and make them believe in themselves.”
Which was perhaps DeLeon’s most impressive coaching credential of all. He instilled confidence in his young players and in turn they played at a higher level. He also tirelessly worked to get his players into college soccer programs. DeLeon entered his players’ stats after every game and always pushed to get their names out there.
“In my mind he’s arguably the most success team coach in South Tahoe history,” Evans said. “Four state titles, two with the boys and two with the girls, it’s just an incredible record. From that standpoint I’m just a little nervous to take over because he’s set the bar so high, but at the same time being able to learn under him for three years was invaluable.”
But according to DeLeon, Evans has nothing to be nervous about. His confidence in Evans was one of the biggest reasons DeLeon felt he could finally step down to spend more time with his family.
“He has a lot of soccer experience and obviously our goal is to keep the same kind of consistency when it comes to coaching, and he’ll do that,” DeLeon said. “We’re just passing on the torch to someone else.”
Evans’ background in soccer runs deep. As a high school player, he was team MVP twice and led Arizona in assists. He was also a two-time Arizona state cup champion and Division I soccer player at Marquette University.
The list goes on, but safe to say that Evans knows how to play soccer. He also knows how to coach.
He led the JV team to a 46-3 record in his past three years. In those three years, Evans’ JV teams outscored opponents 246-15 and won two league titles.
As the new varsity coach, Evans now has even higher expectations for the girls. He knows what the returning girls are capable of, and he’s looking forward to the upcoming season.
“I’m excited about the team. It’s not like Chris left the cupboards bare by any means,” Evans said. “The expectation, as it should be, is to win a state title — knowing who we have coming back, and who we have coming up.”
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