School didn’t have to hunt for new head coaches by keeping it in the house with De La Cruz and Burgos
By Arnie Leshin
It’s called keeping it in the house.
While Eugene Doyle was head coach of the Capital High boy’s soccer team, he put together 11 years that included one state championship. It was a program that brought respect.
And when he resigned after last season, in stepped Luis De La Cruz, who had been co-head coach of the Jaguar girls with Miguel Burgos. So with De La Cruz moving over in the same role to take charge of the boys, Burgos stayed put and is now head coach of the girls.
Sticking with the boys, it’s not known how many candidates applied, but in De La Cruz, who is employed in the human resources department of the Santa Fe Public Schools, Capital didn’t have to look far. Ditto with Burgos,
It can now bring in De La Cruz and his love of the game. He’s played it, and his first head coaching position came when he was named to coach the girls last year.
Now he has that experience while Burgos can say the same regarding the girls. He’s familiar with their program, knows who is returning from last season’s squad, plus De La Cruz is familiar with the boys.
On the playing field, he excelled for four years as El Paso Texas’ Chapin High School as a midfielder and forward, and was a part of New Mexico’s Olympic Development program. He played his college ball at Wayland Baptist, an NAIA school in Plainview, Tex., and played professionally
In Ciudad, Mexico.
“When we played district doubleheaders,” he said, “I got to watch Coach Doyle’s team, and I think I saw them about six times. I was impressed by the way they played the game and hope I can continue the success brought by Coach Doyle.”
But he knows it won’t be easy.
“Coach Doyle left the bar pretty high,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll keep the hard work going.”
While coaching the girls, he was able to keep an eye on the boys and is quite aware of the talent they possess.
“No doubt,” he said, “they are very good players. The team, skill-wise and knowing the sport, is a well-rounded group. That is going to make my job easier.”
Presently, De La Cruz is in the process of contacting current and prospective and setting up summer workouts in preparation for the upcoming campaign. He has already met with several of the players and said there are good numbers coming back.
Now he and Burgos need to add assistant coaches. Most important, they are not strangers to either program.
As co-head coaches of the girls, the two posted a 5-12-1 record last season. But that program has gone through numerous head coaches and has not enjoyed the success of the boy’s team. But it’s a plus that Burgos returns as its coach.
As for the boys, most of them are quite familiar with their new head coach, and he’s on the same path.
“I met with some of the boys on Wednesday,” he said, “and we discussed some things about the team. I haven’t been in touch with Coach Doyle, but I won’t hesitate to do so because he can answer a lot of questions.”
Cruz also checked out last year’s roster to see who is returning, but he thinks it will be best to await the first full meeting with the returnees, and hopefully, some talented newcomers.
“I’m really excited and can hardly wait until for the season to start,’ he said. “Also, I consider myself fortunate to get this job, and happy that Miguel gets to be head coach of the girls.”
With the updated New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) alignment that covers 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, Capital soccer will relocate to District 5-5A with defending state 6A champion Albuquerque High, with other Albuquerqueschools Manzano, Rio Grande and Sandia, as well as city rival Santa Fe High.
Albuquerque High, Manzano, Rio Grande, and Sandia were previously in 6A. So was Santa Fe High. Prior to this, the Jaguars played in a district that included perennial power Albuquerque Academy and the stellar Los Alamos program.
Under the guidance of De La Cruz and Burgos, the Jaguars hope to do well in the upcoming campaign.