The former assistant at several area high schools and colleges said it's a 'dream come true' to lead the Cougars.

Even though Ivan Munoz has covered a lot of ground in the coaching world over the last decade, he knew he would never feel fully satisfied with his career until he had one particular position under his belt.

It’s the position he holds today.

Munoz, who graduated from Canby High School in 2001, has returned to his alma mater to take the helm of the boys soccer program whose roster once featured his name.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I’ve been coaching for the past 10 years, but I’ve always wanted to coach at Canby High School. It was always on my list of goals to accomplish.”

Munoz replaces fellow Cougars alumnus Mark Madeira, who stepped down after leading the team to the first round of the Class 6A playoffs last season. Both were members of the program when it last won a playoff game — in 1999.

Munoz said he heard about the opening through Alex Frixione, a friend who has taught at Canby High School. He wasted little time in submitting an application.

During his interview, Munoz was able to discuss the experience he’s gained since graduating from Canby a dozen years ago.

He served as a junior varsity coach at Aurora-North Marion. He became an assistant at Beaverton-Valley Catholic. He then helped out at Chemeketa Community College in Salem and at Warner Pacific College in Portland before playing professionally as a goalkeeper in Mexico in a recent stint that was cut short by back and knee injuries.

Much of his coaching career has mirrored that of Oscar Monteblanco, a Peru native who has led several prep, club and college teams in the region. He recently became the head coach of the boys soccer program at St. Helens High School, which competes in Class 5A as a member of the Northwest Oregon Conference.

“He’s been my role model and my teacher,” said Munoz, who has also led clinics for the Canby United Soccer Association. “He’s the guy that I have learned a lot from. ... I’m just really grateful and really happy for the opportunity. I’m gonna do my best to not let anybody down.”

Munoz said he’s hoping to implement at Canby the style of soccer that he and Monteblanco have brought to teams they’ve coached in the past. It’s a style predicated on the quick, short passes that Monteblanco internalized in South America rather than on the long forward kicks that are stereotypical of play in the United States.

Munoz said his coaching staff will include Canby alumni Christian Zavala, Brad Matlock and Juan Suarez, among others. He’s excited to represent the blue and gold from a completely different perspective.

“I love the game,” he said, “and I’m happy to be back.”

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