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Women's Soccer News: Central California HEAT Looks to Fire Up the Valley
Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Adds Some HEAT in California
By: WPSL Media Desk
In 2010 the Clovis Sidekicks, under the direction and ownership of Milt Contreras, brought high-level WPSL competition to California’s Central Valley for the first time. Before that, local women players had nothing available after the college level without moving out of the area. After a moderately successful first season, Contreras’ many business commitments pulled him away from regular contact with the team, and at the end of 2011 he sold the team to partners in the Clovis Junior Soccer League (CJSL). The team was then reinvented as the Central California HEAT, with the goal of igniting the Central Valley soccer community.
The CJSL is a 6000-member organization that includes the Clovis, Calif., area and parts of northeast Fresno. Although they are not affiliated with the Clovis Unified School District, the club uses the district’s elementary school boundaries for their 30 U6-U12 recreational clubs. CJSL also includes FC Clovis, a teen recreational soccer program, and Clovis Crossfire, the competitive/
The CJSL had run a different competitive program over a decade before, called Central California HEAT, and it seemed an appropriate time to bring back the old name. The HEAT name itself refers in part, appropriately, to the high temperatures common to the Central Valley during the summer season. Says HEAT General Manager Chad Moran, “We all liked the sound of the name, and it works for us because it is definitely hot in the Central Valley, as all the girls who have played there will tell you.”
HEAT head coach Oliver Germond may be new to the WPSL, but not to coaching high-level women’s soccer. After a playing career that took him up through college soccer with Cal State Northridge, Germond moved to the coaching side of the game. He coached several years with Santa Clarita United, Hart High School and College of the Canyons before he was brought in to lead the women’s program at Fresno City College.
“My dream was to be a professional soccer player,” says Germond, “but that didn’t happen. So I took the second best thing I could do, which was coaching.”
General Manager Chad Moran (L) and Head Coach Oliver Germond (R) will lead the Central California HEAT in the WPSL's 2012 season.
In his eleven years with Fresno City College, Germond has coached the Lady Rams to seven Central Valley Conference Championships. For his efforts, he has been named Central Valley Conference Coach of the Year seven times. Germond brings over 20 years of experience as well as a USSF National “B” Coaching License and NSCAA Coaching License to the HEAT program. He is also a former President of the California Community College Soccer Association. All of this experience has helped prepare him to coach at one of the highest levels of women’s soccer.
“I love coaching and making a difference for women who play soccer,” says Germond. “I love being at practice every day and seeing improvement and helping change their lives, not just in soccer but in their life commitment. I think we show that through soccer.”
Germond plans to run a high-pressure game with the HEAT, which has been very successful with his Fresno City College teams. “We feel if we can cut down space on other teams it gets them out of their comfort level,” Germond explains. “I’m big on possession and making good decisions with the ball. We try to keep it as simple as possible, but we work hard at it.”
“I think part of the reason I was hired is because in past programs we’ve done a good job getting commitment levels from our players.” Germond says. “I think that’s why we’ve had success, because we demand so much from our players. That’s what we’re going to do here with the HEAT. That’s our philosophy with everything that we approach – the work ethic and the commitment to success.”
One element in the new direction of the team is the commitment of the parent CJSL organization to the success of the HEAT. Moran explains that, in essence, all 6000 players in the league are part owners of the new team. “One of the things we’ve decided is that every kid in the league gets into games free with their league membership card. We want to include them that way.”
Moran believes that giving players free admission to all HEAT games will help spread the word about the new team and increase attendance. He also wants the new team to give back to the community. “We want to provide something for our kids to look up to,” Moran explains. “We will be having our HEAT players go out in groups of four to the recreational clubs’ summer mini-camps. We want them to represent the HEAT and just be role models for these younger kids.”
While Moran hopes that eventually some of the CJSL girls will work their way up to the HEAT, he does not want the team to seem exclusive. “There’s a bunch of other different leagues in our area that we want participation from,” Moran says. “We want them to be a part of it and we want their best players. We want to give them a place to play as well. It’s not just a funnel for our league, it’s for our whole community. This is for Central California, because there is no high-level soccer beyond college for these ladies.”
The Central California HEAT will draw talent from regional colleges and universities, including Fresno State University, Fresno City College and Fresno Pacific University, as well as from across the nation. The team will hold a series of tryouts for interested women players, all at Fresno City College where the HEAT will play its home matches. The first tryout will be March 31 and April 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Other tryouts will be April 14 and 15 and May 5 and 6, all at the same time and location.
Interested players can contact the team at HEAT@wpsl.info.
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The Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) is the largest national Women’s Soccer League in the world. With more than 70-plus women’s soccer teams, the WPSL is the leading amateur soccer league in America.