Luis Del Rio, who led Woodburn (Ore.) High School to Oregon 5A boys' soccer state championships in 2010 and 2011, begins his third year as the head coach of men's soccer at George Fox University with the goal of reviving the Bruins' program.
Last year, the Bruins posted a record of 2-16-1. They weren't able to secure a conference win, but the tides have turned in the men's soccer program in a positive way. Almost half of the losses that the Bruins recorded came at just a two goal margin.
In 2013, the Bruins went 1-19 and played 14 games with just a two goal losing margin.
Del Rio is the seventh coach in the history of George Fox men's soccer, which began in 1977. He replaced 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. The Bruins posted a 2-16-1 in the new coach's initial season.
Del Rio has taken 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 1988 and 1990 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.
"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 three years as the coach at Woodburn, 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.
Del Rio got his start in coaching when his daughter took an interest in the sport, recalling that "my daughter began playing when she was around 10 years old and I helped her team out then, 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."
A native of Nayarit, Mexico, Del Rio attended the Conalep Technical Institute in Tijuana, Mexico, earning his degree in business administration in 1984. He also earned a degree in micro-electronics from Chemeketa Community College in 1999. He and his wife Brigida have three children: daughter Gillian and sons Luis Angel and Fernando Enrique. He 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.
1st win - 1-0 at Willamette, 9/30/2012