Coaching the spirit of play

Zaneta Encarnacion

Fri February 28, 2014 12:50pm

The San Diego State women’s soccer team advanced to the 2013 NCAA championship last season. Four players earned spots on the NSCAA All-Pacific Region Team. The team earned NSCAA’s Team Ethics and Sportsmanship and Team Academic awards. These young ladies have excelled on and off the field, and this has occurred under the leadership of their head coach Mike Friesen.
The Friesen family moved to Chula Vista in 2004 when Mike first began with SDSU as an assistant coach. Their search for a home covered the entire county, but the Freisens loved the community feel of Chula Vista and its proximity to all the great spots in greater San Diego. 
Friesen has served as head coach since 2007 and enjoys the competition and relationships with the players the most.  “College athletics always present a new challenge … it’s never boring!”
Friesen’s wife Jamie is a former coach for women’s college basketball at UCLA, where she played in her college days. She now volunteers with Athletes in Action, a Christian ministry for college athletes. Walking alongside the students as they journey through life is the part of coaching Jamie likes best.
Both Friesens have brought their leadership and experience to Chula Vista by coaching a number of youth athletic teams and helping out when not coaching.  They believe giving back to their community comes out of the overflow of all they have been given. They have modeled and instilled the same spirit in their children Cole, 10, and Emily, 8.
So what advice would these coaches give parents of local youth athletes?
“Youth sports should be fun and keep kids interested in continuing to play. Look for coaches who are developing your kids’ skills and love for the game more than a team/coach who focuses on winning. Enjoy watching them play rather than pressuring them. The kids who love it for themselves will stick with it. It’s called ‘playing’ sports not ‘working’ sports.”
Zaneta Encarnacion is director of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation.