After a year as the Cowboys' JV soccer coach, Ramone Castañeda has taken over as the team's head coach to start the 2019 season.
"I'm very excited to do something new and to help the program improve," Castañeda said before a recent practice. "I love the sport and want to share that with kids who want to play and try it out."
Castañeda knows that there are a lot of challenges facing the Crook County soccer program. The Cowboys have not had a winning season since 2014 and the last time the team reached the state playoffs was all the way back in 2007.
The Cowboys have compiled just a 26-38-6 record during the past five season. Adding to the difficulties, a year ago, Crook County moved up from Class 4A to Class 5A and finished the season with just a 3-10-1 record.
In addition, many of last year's varsity players graduated, and several other players with significant varsity experience have not turned out for this year's program.
As a result, Castañeda believes that the first step to rebuilding the program is very basic.
"Getting us to be a team, that's my first goal," he said. "To play as one team, make it stronger and make them more united as a team. Have them play together. Have them get to know each other, that's the first thing."
After having both varsity and JV teams for the past several years, as of last Friday, just 14 people were on the Cowboys' roster.
"It would be nice to have a JV team," Castañeda said. "We want as many players as we can get."
In addition to being short on numbers, much of this years' roster is underclassmen. That means that there may be a steep learning curve before the team is truly competitive. However, Castañeda believes that he is up to the challenge.
"I played high school soccer and I have officiated here in Central Oregon for high school and men's league," he said. "I've got the rules down."
Although this is his first high school head coaching job, Castañeda has years of experience coaching youth soccer.
"I like getting kids who want to learn about the sport to come out and love it," Castañeda said. "
He quickly added that although the short term goal is to mold the players into a team the long term goal is to win.
"We have a lot of kids coming in as freshmen," Castenada added. "Now we have to start at the bottom. It is going to be a tough challenge, but I think we can do this. Just come out and support Crook County soccer. It's going to be good."
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