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- Published on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 10:36
Local soccer enthusiast working to start academy in Elk City
Daily Elk Citian
This past season was somewhat of an emergence for the boys and girls ECHS soccer teams. The girls finished the season 11-2 and fell to Bethany in the 4A playoff quarterfinals. The boys squad made it to the first round of the playoffs, before falling to Ada, but posted big regular season wins over highly-regarded Newcastle and Weatherford.
But before each of the key players on either team got to the point where he or she was competitive at the high school level, they had to start out somewhere.
For many years, that meant traveling to Yukon to play in the Canadian Valley Futbol Club. But this fall, a self-confessed soccer junkie named Alfredo Hernandez will lend a hand in changing that. Hernandez, a 1996 graduate of Clinton High School, works in Elk City and has acted as coaching administrator for the past several months for the Elk City Youth Soccer League. His most recent contribution is an attempt to begin the Elk City Soccer Academy, where he will work in a similar role.
“My main concern is not about winning. It’s about development, and these kids will be developed in the proper way,” Hernandez said. “What I teach them is going to be the proper way to play.”
When he’s in his comfort zone, Hernandez is playing, coaching, or thinking about soccer. It’s not something the 34-year-old can necessarily help — soccer is his past, present, and future.
After his high school playing career, Hernandez earned a goalkeeping scholarship to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, but mainly played midfield. He finished his final year playing at Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford.
After college, he was a goalkeeper coach at Oklahoma Baptist University for three years and coached high school soccer in Elk City, Weatherford, and Carl Albert. He still claims one of his biggest achievements was being a goalkeeper coach for CAHS, when it was state runner-up to Deer Creek.
“I never did that as a player,” Hernandez said.
PASSING IT ON
This past fall, when the Elk City Soccer Organization was conducting its usual signups, the junior high boys in the U-16 division wanted to have a traveling recreational team. Courtney LeGrand, coordinator for the U-8 boys and girls division, told them that if enough of them signed up, she would find the players a coach.
So, that’s what the group did, as they fielded plenty of players for a team, and left LeGrand with the task of finding their leader.
“I kept hearing Alfredo’s name over and over,” LeGrand said. “So, I got on Facebook and sent him a message, told him I’d heard of him, and had a bunch of kids who wanted to play soccer.”
For the complete article on the Elk City Soccer Academy and Hernandez's involvement, pick up a copy of the Tuesday, July 3 edition of the Daily Elk Citian.