Winning Tradition

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Champion / The SAC Hall of Fame player is in his 10th year as a head coach, leading the Dons to two states titles. / Daniel Hubert / el Don
Champion / The SAC Hall of Fame player is in his 10th year as a head coach, leading the Dons to two states titles. / Daniel Hubert / el Don

Jose Vasquez set records as a player and won state titles as a coach

By Jorge Campos

Over the last quarter century Jose Vasquez established himself as one of the top collegiate soccer coaches in the country.“He is the soccer program. Since he became an assistant here, the program just took off,” said Avie Bridges, dean of kinesiology.

During the off-season as a pro soccer player for the Los Angeles Galaxy, Vasquez trained using on-campus facilities. The players watched and asked for tips, until 1992 when his old coach and mentor J.P. Frutos convinced him to take a position as an assistant.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think about coaching but the other coach [Frutos] kind of groomed me to stay and help,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez faced high expectations in 2004 when he took over a program that had won two national titles and five state titles. After getting over initial jitters he led the Dons to a state and national title in his first year, then followed that up with a state title in 2005. Going into his 11th year coaching this fall Vasquez believes he is just getting started.

“I’m here for a reason, I feel strongly that the Lord put me here to help these kids. You are only as good as the kids you move on,” Vasquez said.

 As a forward for the Dons in 1989 Vasquez broke numerous school records, including fastest goal scored in a game (10 seconds) and most career hat tricks (four). He’s tied for most goals scored in a game (seven). His on-field accomplishments got him inducted in the SAC athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.

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“It was an amazing two years,” Vasquez said  “I would trade two years of my profession for two more years of junior college any day.”

Last year the team finished the season with a 16-6-4 overall record, good enough for second in the Orange Empire Conference and a number three seed in the southern bracket of the California Community College Athletics Association playoffs. Under Vasquez the Dons won eight consecutive OEC titles from 2004 to 2012.

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