New JV coach volunteers his time

Lincoln’s fans rejoiced in celebration as Jesuit solemnly vanished into the locker room following a 3-1 loss at home. The Lincoln boys soccer team has already celebrated a plethora of successful moments this season so far. Despite the team currently ranking top 15 in state, the junior varsity team’s new coach has widely flown under the radar.

This year, the Lincoln boys’ JV team is under the direction of new coach Juan Carlos Rolon. Rolon, who has been acquainted with varsity’s head coach, Pablo Dipascuale, was brought in for the unique perspective he can provide to the program. Rolon speaks English as his third language and is currently an international student.

He couldn’t help but jump at the chance to coach for Lincoln when offered.

“It was a perfect opportunity because I truly have missed being so close to the game and wanted to find an opportunity like this,” said Rolon.

While Rolon has never coached, he has vast soccer experience and is able to share his love of the game with his players. Freshman Rowan Schnebly lived in Mexico for two years and has been able to relate to Rolon.
“I can connect with him because he speaks Spanish too. He is a really funny guy and he really knows soccer,” said Schnebly.

Rolon credits his coaching experience by allowing him to learn a lot as well. Being an international student who is volunteering his time, he has been able to gain insight firsthand into the high school lives of United States teenagers along with how soccer is played in the US.

“The culture has been very different but the excitement that many of my players have surprised me at first. It is also what has made this season so fun,” said Rolon.

There has also been a bit of a learning curve regarding different rules and regulations within the OSAA soccer league. Rolon has experienced his players laugh at him when not knowing the rules and says it “has come as a surprise to [him].” Rolon and his players have bonded over these times of confusion

“He is genuinely a nice guy, being that it’s his first year he has been doing a pretty good job,” said sophomore Cole Carlson.

Rolon was added this year following the departure of former JV coach Frankie Lopez. This change of coaching staff isn’t unique. JV coaches have often left and transitioned to other jobs due to various reasons.

Coaching JV requires an extremely flexible work schedule as practices are often 4 to 6 p.m. Many people who work “regular” hours cannot take enough time off of work to fit the needs of the job.

In addition, due to limited funding, Portland Public School’s Department of Athletics pays its JV coaches only $3,700 a year. This increases slightly after three years before reaching a final set salary of $4,200 for soccer coaches.

Lack of funding is to blame for the low salaries and with the current status of Portland Public Schools money available to go towards athletics, an increase in pay for coaches seems unlikely. For non-teachers, this income to work around a sustainable job and life may not be worthwhile.

Coaching requires working at least 5 days a week, after another job or school day. With the Oregon state minimum wage $12.00 an hour, many may be able to earn more money while putting in less effort and time.

Some coaches, such as Rolon, have accepted the job without a salary and willingly volunteer their time. These coaches are a massive help to athletic programs, yet being a volunteer is not a feasible option for everyone.

Coaches who last long times in programs, such as what the women’s soccer team has experienced. The women’s soccer team has been able to have established coaches which is extremely beneficial to the entirety of the team. Not knowing the status of a coach can pose commitment issues to fully invest in the team for its players if they aren’t sure they will see returning players after a single season.

Rolon has enjoyed his time so far at Lincoln and has expressed interest in returning, if possible.

“As an international student it’s hard to know what a year from now will look like and much of the future is out of my control. However, if I am able, there is no doubt that I will be back,” said Rolon.