Having a new coach is usually a major hurdle for sports teams to overcome, but the Davis High men’s JV soccer team has overcome that obstacle with flying colors, going 16-1-2 with first year coach Jesus Mata at the helm.
Mata has been coaching soccer in Dixon and Davis since 2009, beginning his career at Dixon High. Mata worked his way up in Dixon until he earned his spot as the Dixon High varsity head coach in 2011, where he stayed for two years. Mata also has been coaching for the Davis Legacy Soccer organization for several years.
This past fall Mata made the move to DHS, where he is currently coaching the JV men’s soccer team.
“I was intrigued to come to Davis High because of the rich tradition DHS soccer has,” Mata said.
During a game, Mata can be seen scribbling on his notebook from the bench, making quick adjustments and changes as the game progresses. Once the game intensifies, Mata rises from his seat and springs into action. As he paces up and down the sideline, he calls out to his players, making sure they are always on their toes.
Sophomor Francis Avoce is a striker on the JV team. Avoce mentioned that while Mata can be intense during games, he is more relaxed during practice.
“Coach Mata is very chill and laid back. Practices are more enjoyable with him because players aren’t dreading having to go to practice every day. I can be myself around Coach Mata. With most coaches I have to worry about acting orderly and setting a good example, but with Coach Mata I don’t have to worry about acting the ‘right’ way,” Avoce said.
But during games Mata makes sure that his players are not too relaxed.
“When we are winning by a lot Coach Mata is calm, but he is still coaching and always expects us to perform to our standards,” sophomore center back Matt Rowen said
Now at DHS, Mata has to deal with the challenges of being a first year head coach.
“I think it took some time for Coach Mata to get used to the tough competition of high school soccer as opposed to travel league,” sophomore right back Chris Marelich said.
Sophomore striker Sammy Walker thought that “Coach Mata was a little unprepared for the game against Jesuit and the atmosphere that came with it.”
Despite these challenges and several others that the team had to deal with this year, Mata says the season was a resounding success.
“[My favorite moment] has to be the first 20 seconds of the Jesuit game. We scored on a really good sequence and it was probably the best goal we had all year,” Mata said.
As for next season and the years following it, Mata looks forward to the Blue Devils winning.
“I hope to continue getting the W’s for DHS soccer, to grow as a coach, and to have the boys develop not only as soccer players but as young men,” Mata said.