Award-Winning High School Coach Del Rio Named New Head of Bruin Men’s Soccer
NEWBERG, Ore. – Luis Del Rio, who led Woodburn (Ore.) High School to the last two Oregon 5A boys’ soccer state championships, has been named as the new head coach of the men’s soccer program at George Fox University and will begin his new duties this coming August, according to university director of athletics Craig Taylor.
Del Rio becomes the seventh coach in the history of Bruin men’s soccer, which began in 1977. He is replacing Tim Tsohanataridis, who served two stints as the Bruins’ coach (1986-89 and 2007-10) before returning to full-time teaching duties in the Religious Studies department of the university.
In three years as coach of the Woodburn program, Del Rio led the Bulldogs to records of 16-2 in 2009, 17-1 in 2010, and 18-1 in 2011. Woodburn made the state playoffs each of those years, extending a state record of 25 consecutive post-season appearances. The Bulldogs won the 5A titles in the state’s second-highest classification in 2010 and 2011, with Del Rio named the State Coach of the Year in 2010 and the Willamette Valley Coach of the Year, covering area schools in all six state levels, in 2011.
A native of Nayarit, Mexico, Del Rio attended the Conalep Technical Institute in Tijuana, Mexico, earning his degree in Business Administration in 1984. After working for several years with different companies, first in the textile industry and then in the electronics industry, in Tijuana and Los Angeles, where his mother resides, he relocated to Woodburn in 1988, where he found employment with a company manufacturing cabinet doors and windows. He also worked for three years at a foundry in Tualatin.
Enrolling at Chemeketa Community College to improve his English language skills, Del Rio earned a degree in micro-electronics in 1999, then landed a position at Cascade Microtech in Beaverton, where he has worked since then.
Del Rio met his wife, Brigida, shortly after arriving in Woodburn, and they have three children: daughter Gillian (21), a student at the University of Oregon, son Luis Angel (17), a senior at Woodburn High, and son Fernando Enrique (5). It was through his daughter’s interest in soccer that he began his coaching career.
“My daughter began playing when she was around 10 years old and I helped her team out then,” recalls Del Rio, “but the Woodburn Park and Rec season was so short, we decided to found a soccer club to give the young people even more instruction. We established the Woodburn Athletic Soccer Club, advertised for players, and got enough to form four teams. I worked with the U-11B Hawks team, and in our third year we reached the state cup finals, where we were the runner-up.
“After that, I worked with my son’s U-10 Tigres team for four years, then my son played for the Atlas team that won a state championship. I also worked with the Westside Metros club team for a year before applying for and getting the Woodburn High job.”
Del Rio is taking over the reins of a George Fox soccer program that has fallen on hard times since its days of winning National Christian College Athletic Association national championships in 1986 and 1988 and participating in NAIA post-season playoffs seven times from 1988-98. The Bruins’ last winning record was a 10-7-1 mark in 2001 when they came in second in the Northwest Conference, and they are coming off a 2-15-1 record in 2011, including 0-13-1 and a ninth-place finish in the league.
“I enjoy hard work, I love a challenge, and I saw the George Fox job as an opportunity to take the next step on the road to coaching at the highest level possible for me,” declared Del Rio. “I want us to build a program that we can be proud of, and I believe we can be successful here with a beautiful facility, support from the administration and the community, and bringing in talented players. George Fox is committed to developing a good program, and I am willing to put in all my effort to develop a competitive soccer team here again.
“The hardest thing is always the first step. I first need to find out what we have here in the way of skills, and I will be watching a lot of game films from last year to see what we have. I want players who are versatile, who can play more than one position so that we have some flexibility in the lineup, and who will play hard every minute they are out there.”
In announcing the hiring of Del Rio, Taylor commented that “Luis' success on the field and, more importantly, his commitment to the overall development of our student-athletes, makes him a great fit for George Fox University.”
Del Rio enjoys fishing, exploring rivers, and hiking in the mountains with his children when he has occasional moments of spare time. He and his family are members of the St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Woodburn.