I fell in love with soccer at the age of 11. I was fascinated by the creativity and spontaneity of the game. As an aspiring educator, I soon became enticed with the idea of coaching. It first started as a hobby. When I was not on the field playing, I was on the sideline coaching. As a coach, I have had to redefine my coaching philosophy multiple times as I continue to grow as an individual and center my philosophy around my players. It is easy to succumb to the pressures of producing a winning team. Don’t get me wrong, winning is fun, but my most cherished memories are about the life lessons I learned while having a ball at my feet. As a coach, I have a responsibility to help guide and inspire young players. Anyone can learn to kick a ball, but it takes courage to accept defeat, to be respectful, and to take risks. It is not a simple task!

I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Education and my teaching credentials. I am enrolled in UCLA’s Teacher Education Program. This is such a huge accomplishment for me. As a first-generation student, I have encountered numerous obstacles that nearly made this accomplishment feel impossible. Having to navigate institutions that do not cater to minorities and perpetuate racial injustices, has inspired me to want to become part of such institutions to try to revert these injustices and establish safe and welcoming spaces for minorities. Although this is a paradox, I hope that future generations will continue to dismantle oppressive institutions.

I have been very fortunate to have amazing role models who have paved the way for woman coaches. Karter White, who coached my last year of club soccer, is a prime example. I have learned so much from her as a player and as a coach. However, I would not be in the position I am today without the guidance and continuous support of Coach Mick. Coach Mick continues to create opportunities for young brown Latinx girls to play competitive soccer despite financial burdens. He inspires me to do the same. As a Latinx myself, I want to continue to close racial, social-economic, and gender barriers.

Much of the work that we do as coaches, goes far beyond the field. It takes commitment and passion to the players and the sport. Be true to who you are and really dive in and ask yourself, what do you gain from coaching? I hope that helps guide your own journey as you create your own coaching philosophy

Jimena Torres
2009 Girls Downtown L.A. Soccer Club Head Coach

Please join us in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month September 15th – October 15th, 2020 and throughout the year. If you would like more information about being a part of the United Soccer Coaches Latino Coaches Advocacy Group please email us. Latinocoaches@unitedsoccercoaches.org