Steve Ancheta takes over as West Linn boys soccer coach
The West Linn boys soccer team is under new management.
Ancheta, 49, most recently served as head women's soccer coach at Western Oregon University from 2011-18 and has also had high school head coaching stints with the Barlow boys team (1999-2002) and Central Catholic boys (2003-2010). He was hired in May to replace Travis Roth, who led the Lions for three seasons.
"I thought I might take a break (from coaching), but someone called me and told me that this job was open," Ancheta said. "If I was going to coach again, I wanted it to be with a program that had a lot of quality and I thought West Linn was one of those."
Roth resigned after receiving a job promotion that would necessitate more travel and interfere with his coaching duties. During his tenure, the Lions went 9-6-5 in Three Rivers League play, 24-14-11 overall and reached the state playoffs all three years, reaching the 6A quarterfinals in both 2016 and 2018, and the second round in 2017.
Continuing the team's playoff success is at the top of Ancheta's list of goals for the Lions.
"One of our goals is to make the playoffs. We want to be in the thick of that," he said. "We want to compete and try to win every night, and at least be the best we can be."
Ancheta, who played for former University of Portland coach Clive Charles during his high school career at Reynolds High School, continued his competitive career at Warner Pacific and Oregon State University (where he graduated with a degree in health and wellness promotions and a minor in nutrition). After that, Ancheta was drafted by the National Premier Soccer League and played for the Dayton Dynamo, and later, for the Portland Timbers and Portland Pride.
"You play good teams every night and there's some good coaches in the league."
— Steve Ancheta
After his playing career ended, Ancheta began his coaching career at Barlow, serving five years for the Bruins, four of those as head coach. He led the team to the playoffs every season, including a quarterfinal berth in 1999, and was named Mt. Hood Conference Coach of the Year once.
At Central Catholic, Ancheta served as head coach for seven seasons, took the Rams to seven MHC championships, four state quarterfinal berths, one state semifinal and the Class 6A state championship in 2007. He was also named Oregon Coach of the Year in 2007.
Ancheta helped build solid teams at Western Oregon, too, serving as just the second coach in program history. In his eight seasons, Ancheta's teams posted a 50-69-22 overall record and a 33-53-18 mark in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Ancheta also led the Wolves to back-to-back GNAC tournament appearances in 2012 and 2013, and was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2013.
Since being hired by West Linn in May, Ancheta and his assistant coaches have been setting the table for work with players over the summer and in preparation for the upcoming 2019 fall season.
"I was hired relatively late in the process, but I feel good that I'm not going (into the fall season) blind," he said. "We're taking it relatively low-key this summer because I came in late, but we're getting good numbers out for summer training so that's been good."
While the Lions graduated five all-Three Rivers League players from last year's squad (including first-team picks Abdul Ali and Gavin Tinsley), the 2019 team could return three all-leaguers, including first-team senior defender Michael Phillips, honorable mention junior goalkeeper Caden Kesselring and honorable mention sophomore forward Luke Tinsley.
Still, Ancheta knows there are challenges ahead.
"(The Three Rivers League) is a real good soccer league," he said. "You play good teams every night and there's some good coaches in the league."
The Lions will see those "good teams" more often in 2019, too, as the TRL shifts to a home-and-away format that means they'll play every league foe twice.
That said, Ancheta feels good about the soccer culture around West Linn, mentioning the number of year-round players who compete with Oregon Premier Football Club and Oregon City Soccer Club.
"That's a bonus that there are good clubs in the area," he said. "Kids are playing year-round and that's a huge plus."
Ancheta said he favors possession-oriented soccer that moves the ball all over the field and features scoring opportunities for numerous players.
"I've heard a lot of good things about the school and the program," Ancheta added. "When things are clicking and working, you don't want to change too much."
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