Coaches' Corner: The Dynamic Duo
As the 2018 soccer season has kicked off, the Panthers are on their way to having another great season. Head coach Grace Cooper is starting her 11th year at Chaffey College and feels good about their chances of taking their conference this year.
Coach Cooper played soccer at California State University Fullerton from 2000-2002, earning First Team All-Conference, MVP, Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Captain Honors. In 2003-2005, she joined the coaching staff as an assistant at Fullerton College. Coach Cooper has coached at John F. Kennedy High School in Orange County and club teams in Orange County. She graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2006 earning her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in kinesiology; Coach Cooper currently teaches a kinesiology class here at Chaffey College.
The Panthers are in the North division of the South Coast Conference which includes teams from Pasadena City College, East Los Angeles College, Rio Hondo College, and Mount San Antonio College. Coach Cooper stated that Rio Hondo, which won the South Coast Conference in 2017, will be the team to beat this year.
The Panthers are led by sophomore captains Nicole Downing, Danielle Perez, and Taylor Windham. The top scorers are led by freshmen Carla Garcia and Angel Rodriguez. Assistant coaches Daniel Fox and Erik Zamudio are also credited with the success of the team. With a current record of 7-1-2, ranked 18th in the nation, 8th in the state, and 4th in Southern California.
On the men's side, we have Coach Ben Cooper, who is in his eighth year as head coach. Coach Cooper graduated in 2002 from California State University San Bernardino and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology, went on to earn his Master of Science degree in Kinesiology from Cal State Fullerton in 2004. Coach Cooper is also a full-time physical education teacher at Summit Intermediate School, grades six to eight, and teaches classes at Chaffey College in the physical department.
The men have speed and talent to carry them through this 2018 season, Coach Cooper said. Led by top scorer Oscar Casillas who has 5 goals to his credit, and Ivan Macias, with captain Mickey Huerta, the Panthers have a tough schedule ahead of them. Assistant coaches Chris Araya and Jake Davies also help with the task of preparing the men.
With a record of 5-2-2, the men hope to make a run to win their conference. In their South Coast Conference North Division, the team to beat is Mt. SAC, which made it to the conference finals in 2017. Coach Cooper says he tells his men that winning at Chaffey is a tradition and that they want to continue that tradition. Let's support both teams and bring home championships.
Coach Grace Cooper has been married to Coach Ben Cooper for 10 years, Ben is also the Chaffey men's soccer coach. They have two daughters, a 3-year-old and a 15-month-old. They both are passionate about playing, coaching and teaching the sport to future student athletes.