Quezada looks to keep soccer strong in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Quezada looks to keep soccer strong in Craig

Moffat County High School boys soccer coach Diego Quezada stands on a snow-covered field outside of the high school in late January.

Diego Quezada grew up playing soccer in Craig and knows how important the sport is to building community. That’s why he’s back for a second season as head soccer coach of the Moffat County Bulldogs, with plans to lead the team to a successful campaign.

Quezada, a 2016 MCHS alum, said he couldn’t pick just one favorite memory of soccer, but he said his senior year sticks out in his mind the most.

“We were 7-6-1, I believe was our record of that year, and we were just one win away from qualifying for state, so that was kind of a bummer,” Quezada said, “Growing up, we always had a club team (in Craig). So my summers were spent at tournaments and traveling around the state playing. I guess that would be one of our better memories.”

That club team fizzled out over time, Quezada said, but being coach of the Bulldogs means he can give some of those memories to his players. Currently, the soccer team has 13 players — just enough to put 11 players at a time on the field for each game. Though it’s a small team, he enjoys working with them to better their skills.

Quezada has experience coaching locally in club teams, as well, which helped him land the job at MCHS.

“I had 22 kids, so I thought that was huge. We were competitive. We had traveled to Denver and had two games in Denver,” he said. “We were just as competitive and motivated.”

He does not have an assistant coach, a job he’s still looking to fill with a motivated counterpart. Though he said he can handle the job by himself, he does wish he could have backup when it comes to engaging his players.

“It’s manageable with one coach, but after a while, if I need to make a decision or need someone to talk something through with, it would be nice to have a second opinion or a second voice,” he said. “It would be nice if someone did tell the kids more of what I’m telling them to do.”

Quezada’s biggest goal for his team is learning how to “play it simple,” he said. He said by playing it simple, it becomes a more enjoyable game that relies less on pure aggression and more on skill.

“Right now I feel like my boys are greedy, as I like to call it,” he said. “(They’re playing) greedy soccer versus more technical passing soccer. Eventually, I would like some getting to that technical passing for through balls instead of just all gritty, gritty physicality.”

Despite how young the team is — Quezada said around 70% of the team are sophomores — he hopes that he can push his players to keep improving.

The Bulldogs face off against Rifle High School Monday evening in the first game of the season.

“I’m just really excited for the season,” he said. “I know it could be a learning season again like our last season, but we have got to stay motivated. You know, try our hardest and put in all efforts.”

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