‘I never thought that I would be in Wyoming coaching soccer, but I’m here’
Between the high school, club and collegiate levels, Stan Rodrigues is bringing more than 20 years of coaching experience to the Northwest College men’s soccer team.
Rodrigues most recently spent the last two years starting up and coaching the men’s soccer program at Eastern Oregon University, posting an overall record of 18- 15-1.
It was a chance conversation with then-NWC soccer coach Rob Hill at an ID camp that first got Rodrigues thinking about Powell.
“He [Hill] made it sound really enticing,” said Rodrigues, adding that he knew he wanted to teach at a junior college during his career.
Rodrigues has a master’s in kinesiology with an emphasis of physical education, but he’s taught a wide range of classes such as Spanish conversation and culture, history of hip hop and coaching and methodology.
While at Eastern Oregon, Rodrigues said he was always looking for another job, but never felt that anything fit. When the position at NWC opened, he decided he wanted to apply — recalling his conversation with Hill.
Rodrigues said his wife was initially like, “Wyoming?” but they decided to apply and see what happened.
Then he called Hill to talk about the position further, asking about the college, the soccer program and the town — and learning that Hill was positive about all three.
“He got me excited to go here,” Rodrigues said, adding, “It just fit. Honestly, it just fit. Everything happens for a reason.”
Rodrigues was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and moved to Oregon during his freshman year of high school.
“I never thought that I would be in Wyoming coaching soccer, but I’m here,” he said. “So I think it’s really good; I think it’s kind of a blessing, because I want to do more and this school is allowing me to do more. I want to teach, I can help with the local community, I can still recruit. I can recruit a deeper pool because of ... how Northwest allows internationals [students] and that. I was pretty limited at my other school.”
His wife, Angela, is also very involved in the program and has built the team’s Facebook page; she’ll do all the social media for the team, making videos, taking pictures and creating posters.
“We’re excited and we look at it as a new adventure,” said Rodrigues.
Rodrigues also has a 23-year-old son who lives in Portland, Oregon, and a 12-year-old son, a 5-year-old son, two dogs and a couple cats who are joining the family in Powell.
“My kid are excited to be here,” Rodrigues said. “I’m excited, I’m really happy to be here. I hope that I can make an impact.”
He wants to make an impact on both the soccer program and the student-athletes’ lives.
“At the end of the day, if I can give these kids good experiences and with my networking and connections with other schools, bigger schools,” said Rodrigues. “I can send them on to finish their bachelor’s degrees somewhere else. And then in the big picture, ... just keep the kids tight and in a family.”
He said that when athletes move on to another school, they often don’t remember their experience at junior college.
“I’d like to try to keep the kids in the same network and help keep that family sense — don’t forget about Northwest College, don’t forget about it here, where you started,” he said.
In hiring Rodrigues, NWC athletic director Lourra Barthuly said the committee liked that his “heart is bigger than his drive for a career. He kept saying family is important; he wants to build a family for Powell and Cody; he wants to bring them together.”
Rodrigues hopes the upcoming season will be a competitive one for the Trapper men.
“It might be a learning year,” Rodrigues said. “I don’t want to say rebuilding year, because each year you’re always trying to build, but I’m hopeful that it’ll be a positive year and I can give the guys the best experience before they move onto other places and other schools.”
The ultimate goal is to continue to build the program, recruit at a high level, bring different cultures into the school and bring in kids who want to go to school.
“I think that’s the main purpose is to get these kids their [associate’s degrees] and move them on,” said Rodrigues. He said the hardest part is going to be only having the players for two years, but he’s excited about helping the students to move on.
Rodrigues added that he feels like he’ll be able to grow as a person in this position and thinks Powell is a great opportunity for him and his family.
“You can judge the strength of the school and the program by how long their coaches stay,” said Rodrigues. “You have almost every single coach here that has been here for five or more years and are young coaches and they are successful. When you’re that successful in your sports, it doesn’t matter if you’re [a junior college] or not, you can move on, you could fight for other positions. Every coach here is very happy.”