University Soccer More Than The Game

WACO (February 7, 2013) -- He's been a soccer coach for 21 years at University High School, but since 2010 Mike Chapman has been coaching both girls and boys soccer at the school. It's something you don't see too often these days.

"At first, was real skeptical about it," said Chapman. "I'll be honest, at first, we're like, we don't know if we can make this work or not with doing both. So we had a couple more meetings about it and thought, 'well, why not.' Let's see what happens and lets give it a shot. And it's worked out very, very well."

Now in his 4th season pulling double duty, it isn't as strange to the kids as it once was.

"Most coaches in high school don't teach both girls and guys. But, I'm really comfortable with it," said Lundon Gutierrez who plays center midfield for the girls team. "I appreciate that they came and helped out the girls."

"He treats us equally. He takes time off each other to help each other out. It seems like he got's it all under control," said Juan Salas, a sweeper for the boys team.

While the coaches who are at the game may change, the one thing that stays the same is Chapman's program philosophy. Success in the classroom, on the field, and community service.

"I thought it was just playing and that's it, but after getting into it and seeing what the class was like it's not just playing soccer, it's about helping others," said Michael Solis, a defender for the boys team. "Doing good in class because if you're not doing good, you're not going to be on the soccer team."

"We knew we were going to be successful on the field. We knew that we had to be successful in the classroom. We wanted to get that well-rounded athlete," said Chapman. "We wanted him or her to know what it means to give back to the community so once they get out of University High School, they can take that and use it for the rest of their lives."

For the last ten years community service has been a focal point of the University soccer program. It's almost a year-round commitment ranging from delivering presents to kids in the hospital on Christmas, to its soccer buddy's program that runs February through April where the girls and boys teams mentor elementary school kids.

"It really taught me how important it is to give back to your community and how important it is to make someone's day just a little better by going out and giving them things and seeing a smile on their face," said Leslie Lugo, a midfielder for the girls team. "It's an honor to see that."

"It's amazing, like, honestly, I think other teams are jealous of our team. Not just because we're such a good team but also we always participate in the community," said Jon Lozano, a forward for the boys team.

"Through the community service and through soccer. Kids kind of walk the line a little bit, which way they want to go, which way are they going to end up in life," said Chapman. "Soccer and out there in the community has really helped them see the right way of doing things."

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