FC Hires Collegiate Coach
By Abby Gagermeier, Features Editor
Three wins, 10 losses, 1 tie.
That’s the Girls’ Varsity Soccer record from just last spring. With 11 seniors recently graduated, the team is on the brink of a rebuilding season. Critics may try to write off any playoff chances for this team, but behind the scenes, Student Activities has been carefully handpicking an entirely new coaching staff. Meet Mr. Luis Gendive, otherwise known as Coach Luis.
Coach Luis is a seasoned soccer veteran, who’s been in the game for over three decades, working at all levels of play. He was born and raised in Madrid, Spain, where “soccer is pretty much a religion,” he says. “It’s always been a part of my life.” He spent 12 years coaching in Madrid, with six of those at a sister school, before moving to the States in 2001. Once here, he spent another five years as head coach for the men’s soccer team at Gallaudet University, the international school of the deaf, in Washington, D.C., where he communicated using American Sign Language. “The real challenge,” he says, “is to get their attention when they aren’t looking at you.”
Here at Falls Church, working alongside him are program assistant Othmane Benkhallouk, and JV coach Darwin Vallejos. The trio has worked together for more than 10 years at Arlington Travel Soccer Club and Thomas Jefferson High School. “We trust each other 120%,” Coach Luis says, “and we all know that each one of us will do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
While he plans to fill the roster with 21 players, he also values individual dedication. “We will have intense and challenging practices to develop the players individually and as a team,” he says. “I count on players' commitment and desire to represent their school with pride.”
With an almost entirely new team and coaching staff, it’s hard to predict how the team will stack up against larger schools, but Coach Luis remains ready for the challenge.
“There’s nothing like seeing all these young players developing into better athletes and better human beings,” he says, “on and off the field.”