Jordan takes over Bulldog boys soccer team
Although Michael Jordan coached Ramona High School’s girls soccer team for nine years, the last time he was officially affiliated with the Bulldogs’ boys soccer team was when he was a player during the 1988-89 season.
When Jordan stepped down as the girls varsity coach after the 2006-07 season to focus on other activities, he didn’t rule out the possibility of returning as a coach in the future, and he started his career as Ramona’s boys soccer coach this season.
Although the Bulldogs’ first game isn’t until Dec. 1, when Ramona travels to El Cajon Valley, Jordan held three meetings with potential players prior to the start of practice.
Restrictions on practice periods do not preclude off-season meetings in which coaches monitor academic performance.
“I was pretty active in checking for grades, working with them,” Jordan said.
Jordan, who teaches history at Ramona High School, was also available for inquiries.
“Kids can come and ask me questions,” he said. “Being an on-campus coach, it’s beneficial.”
A full-time teaching job along with coaching duties is a time-consuming combination. Jordan’s reasons for stepping down after the 2006-07 season included spending more time with his family. His second child was born in September 2007.
“I have two boys. I might as well coach boys soccer,” he said. “My wife knew that I wanted to go back and coach.”
Jordan had also considered a master’s degree to go into administration, but his 2007-08 teacher of the year accolades from the high school convinced him to stay in the classroom.
“I kind of just refocused on my teaching,” he said.
One administrator who will be influencing Jordan’s coaching is Bill Pittsford, who was Ramona’s soccer coach when Jordan was a player. Pittsford is now a principal in Hesperia, and Jordan speaks frequently with his former coach.
“When I was a senior, we had won the Avocado League championship seven years in a row,” Jordan said. “Those are my expectations right off the start.”
Jordan and Mike Diaz, who played with Jordan on the Ramona High School teams of the late 1980s and will be Ramona’s assistant coach this season, realize that a league championship every year might not be possible, but Jordan expects a winning attitude.
“This is the Ramona boys soccer that Mike and I remember, and this is where we want to return it to,” Jordan said. “It starts with the first day of tryouts.”
Tryouts began Nov. 15, and 70 players tried out for the boys varsity, junior varsity, and freshman teams.
“That’s a good problem to have,” Jordan said.
The turnout will require Jordan to make cuts.
“It’s just not a fun part of coaching. I wish I could take them all,” he said.
Jordan expects to carry 18 to 20 players on each team. Six of the players are seniors.
“They’re amazing,” Jordan said of their leadership and their understanding of Jordan’s vision for the program. “They’ve proven themselves in the first week of tryouts already.”
The veteran boys have some familiarity with Jordan, who has organized annual benefit matches involving alumni and current players from the boys and girls teams but who has not previously coached boys soccer at the high school.
“You start over,” Jordan said. “The boys, they don’t know anything about what I did on the girls side.”
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