Meet one of the finalists for MOJO’s My Coach Rules contest
| 4 min read
Jessee Colocho is a full-time coach with Culver City Football Club with nine years of coaching experience under his belt. But when his son was 4, they joined a local AYSO team. Colocho had some soccer experience — he’d played AYSO and high school soccer himself, before an injury sidelined him — but no coaching background. Still, something stuck. “From there, that became my coaching career,” he says. He started with AYSO, earned licenses and, five years ago, was approached by Culver City FC.
“Competitive soccer wasn’t something I was looking to coach,” he says. He started as assistant coach. “We were losing every game. We were losing double digits. It got to the point where we’d be losing, and we’d score a goal and we’d celebrate like we won the game.” When the head coach left, Colocho stepped up. And the team started from scratch.
“I see things differently,” says Colocho. “It’s not about winning. A lot of parents, they think it’s winning, winning, winning. But listen, it’s gonna take a lot of losses to get better and progress. If you guys stick with me, you have my word, I will do my best to make your players develop. You’ll see some change.”
And they did. In just one year, he turned a team that had lost 15-0 into 2018 state cup champions — like a movie.
MOJO took some time out with Coach Jessee to learn more about his approach to coaching.
Tell me about your best day as a coach.
Winning that state cup was amazing. We were nobodies — or, really, nobody expected us to be that successful or even go that far. And I did it with a group of kids where we were losing every game. It was the same group — we didn’t add anybody or take anybody away — and we went that far.
There’s a video of our reaction when we won. Everyone ran to the field. That was the best feeling. The kids were hugging me, thanking me. I want to recreate that over and over.
And your toughest?
There are players that sometimes leave because they’re looking for other opportunities or big names. That’s pretty tough. I like to tell everyone that I’m all about development, to develop their kids. It’s kind of tough when I see a kid who is growing, and I feel like I can continue to help them grow and progress and develop and I lose the player to a big name club. And then — I like to keep track of the boys I coach — I see him staying stagnant and not progressing. That’s tough to watch that happen to a kid with a lot of potential.
What is the one piece of coaching advice that sticks with you.?
A winner never quits — and a quitter never wins. That’s something I tell my boys a lot.
What advice do you give to other coaches?
Trust the process. Because sometimes a new coach can get a little frustrated. New coaches that come on board, they don’t know all the struggles we went through to get where we’re at.
Why do you coach?
At first, I just wanted to get my son active. But now, it’s different. Now, I coach because I love the game. I have a passion for the game — and watching the boys grow and fall in love with the game, too.
Finish this sentence: You know you’ve got MOJO when…
… when you score, because it means everything is working.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.