Werner Christen, Milko Vasquez tabbed to head girls, boys soccer programs

Posted By on March 17, 2014

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Photo courtesy of Ron Harpin, www.rahphotosnv.com
The Douglas girls soccer team plays in the regional semifinals last season at Damonte Ranch.

by Joey Crandall, joey@carsonvalleytimes.com

Douglas High School announced the hiring of new coaches for both the boys and girls soccer teams over the weekend.

New. But not unfamiliar.

Milko Vasquez, who stepped down after the 2010 season following an eight-year stint at the helm of the varsity boys program, will re-assume the reins of the program again for 2014.

And Werner Christen, who has coached basketball at the high school for the better part of the past 26 years, will take over as the girls soccer head coach. He’ll also remain the Lady Tigers girls basketball head coach.

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“It came down to two known commodities,” Douglas High athletic director Jeff Evans said. “Both coaches have proven over time that they can run successful programs, but more importantly that their focus is on the kids, getting kids involved and enhancing the kids’ education. It’s two coaches in the school district already and two coaches that are on campus a lot as it is. They bring a certain element of fun to the table in what they do too, and that is important.”

The head coaching spots were both recently vacated when Vince Brown, the boys head coach for the past three seasons, announced he would not be returning and Jenny Jaggard, who assumed the helm of the girls program last season, accepted a position as an assistant coach with the Chico State University women’s soccer program.

Vasquez brings an impressive resume to the table, having led Douglas to two state tournaments, a regional title in 2007 and three regional finals appearances. He was named the Sierra League Co-Coach of the Year in 2006. The school’s 2007 regional champion squad posted more the most wins (20) in the program’s history, including an overtime shootout victory in the state semifinals.

Christen is the school’s all-time winningest coach in any sport, having compiled 259 wins over the past 16 seasons with the girls basketball program.

“I heard Jenny was leaving and the administration approached me about the spot,” Christen said. “I had been interested when the position came open last year, but the timing just wasn’t right. I talked with (girls assistant head coach) David Pfaffenberger to see how he would be with handling things during the late summer and fall and I talked with my family. I talked with Keith Lewis (principal at Pau-Wa-Lu where Christen works) too. There were a whole bunch of people I ran this past before making a decision.

“It came down to simply that I love soccer and I love coaching. Both of my girls came through this program and went on to play at the collegiate level. I’ve watched this program over the years, and been on the sidelines to some extent with (former coaches) Fred Schmidt and Lorraine Fitzhugh. I learned a lot from both of them, and I know the passion of the game. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with this group.”

Christen, who was born in England and spent the summers of his childhood in Germany, said soccer has been a lifelong passion of his.

“I saw my first pro soccer match in Munich in 1963,” he said. “It was before AYSO or anything back here. I was that guy kicking a soccer ball around and no one here played.”

He’ll inherit a program that has won either a state, region or league title in each of the past six seasons. During that span, Douglas has won state and regional champioships twice. The Lady Tigers return a large portion of last year’s league championship squad.

A number of the returning varsity and JV players have already worked with Christen in the basketball program.

“I love the kids in the program, and I really like where the program is,” he said. “It’ll be a fun bunch to coach.”

He said he plans on having a meeting with the team in the near future to set out his expectations for the group and just to get to know them better.

He also plans to set a strong staff of assistants soon.

“I’m not afraid to bring in people who know more about the game than I do,” Christen said. “That’s how a program sustains success. You look at some of the coaches I’ve had the opportunity to have on the bench with me in basketball, they’ve made the difference in where that program is. I plan on the same approach for soccer.”

Vasquez was similarly approached by the Douglas administration about the open boys coaching position.

“I talked with my wife about it, because it is a big commitment, but I felt like the time was right to come back,” Vasquez said. “These past couple of years have given me a good opportunity to evaluate who I am as a coach. I think sometimes you get so used to doing things one way, it takes stepping away to see areas where you can really improve and ways you can approach things differently.

“I’ve been able to just teach for a couple years, and I know I learned a lot as an instructor. There are things I’d like to do differently now as a coach. I love the game, and I’m excited to work with the kids. I always learn from them and I’ve learned from this time off.”

No one is left in the program from Vasquez’s last season.

“In that sense, it’ll be a fresh start for everyone involved. I don’t know these players, or how they play. It’ll be a chance to get introduced to them. We’ll come out and play hard, play with some passion. I’m just looking forward to getting started. I’m planning to have a meeting with the players in the near future.”

School starts in mid-August, with the fall soccer season traditionally starting on the final weekend in August.

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