Like many of his soccer players at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Geoff Kittle is college-bound.
But unlike those athletes, Kittle won’t be competing; he will be coaching.
Kittle has taken a one-year absence from his job as head coach of the Marysville-Pilchuck girls soccer team to coach the Everett Community College women’s soccer team. It is Kittle’s first collegiate coaching gig.
“It’s something that I kind of always wanted to do,” said Kittle, who was M-P’s girls head coach for three years.
By requesting a leave of absence instead of resigning, Kittle has the option of returning to coach the Tomahawks in 2010. He will remain coach of the M-P boys soccer team, which he guided to a fourth-place finish in Class 4A in May.
The M-P girls’ new head coach is Gary Riozzi, who coached the Tomahawks junior-varsity squad the past three seasons and assisted Kittle with the girls and boys varsity teams.
At Everett CC, Kittle said he’s excited about the challenge of turning around a struggling program. The Trojans were 2-18-2 last season. They allowed 76 goals and scored just 12. Kittle plans to use his connections to recruit some of the area’s best players who aren’t headed to bigger programs.
“If I can get most of girls from Wesco who aren’t going to four-year schools, we could be pretty competitive,” he said.
Kittle, who graduated from Tumwater High in 1996, accepted the Everett CC job midway through the spring. He’s been busy searching for players. Tryouts for the 2009 Trojans team are Aug. 14-15 at Kasch Park in Everett. The team’s first game is Aug. 29 versus Bellevue CC.
Riozzi ready to lead M-P girls
Riozzi, the new Marysville-Pilchuck head girls soccer coach, truly appreciates his promotion. “It’s a great opportunity to move up. It’s kind of what everybody always likes to have, eventually,” said Riozzi, who guided M-P’s JV squad the last three seasons.
A 1986 M-P graduate, Riozzi was a defender who played two years on the Tomahawks varsity boys soccer team. He was on M-P’s 1985 squad that reached that state playoffs for the first time in program history. His wife, brother and sister are also M-P alums.
“He’s really invested with the community,” said Kittle, the former M-P girls coach who took a leave of absence. “He’s really passionate about what he does with the school.”
One of M-P’s top returning players is goalkeeper Lauren Schoonover, a junior-to-be who was a 2008 all-league second team selection. The Tomahawks also have junior-to-be midfielder Krista Riozzi, Gary Riozzi’s daughter.
The coach’s other daughter, Kassandra Riozzi, plays soccer for Seattle University.
Everett CC signers
The following local student-athletes signed to play sports for Everett Community College during the 2009-2010 academic year.
*Baseball: Andrew Lauletta (Kamiak), Trevor Judson (Monroe), Nate Mullins (Snohomish), Gabe Rochon (Jackson), Jaren Saga (Mariner), Max Foster (Snohomish), Bryant Robbins (Snohomish), Braden Allen (Snohomish).
*Softball: Carly Bosse (Stanwood), Rachel Ivelia (Snohomish), Allie Milless (Arlington).
*Women’s soccer: Nicole Inglesby (Cascade), Katie Hughes (Marysville-Pilchuck), Leslie James (Marysville-Pilchuck), Shelby Hampton (Cascade).
*Men’s soccer: Seth Jones (Marysville-Pilchuck), Evander Ochoa (Lakewood), Jeff Gosslee (Cascade), Zach Wagner (Lake Stevens).
*Men’s basketball: Dirk Snel (Cascade), Aaron Matzen (Lynnwood).
*Women’s basketball: Anna Work (Lakewood), Brittany Pierce (Marysville-Pilchuck), Audrey Murphy (Granite Falls), Anna Molitor (Meadowdale).
*Volleyball: Ashley Hagood (Shorecrest).
*Women’s cross country: Sam Taylor (Cascade), Michelle Bastian (Snohomish), Chelsea Bronn (Snohomish), Lauren Ainsworth (Marysville-Pilchuck).
*Men’s distance track: Ryan Lanphere (Marysville-Pilchuck), Drew Larson (Lake Stevens), Scott Larson (Lake Stevens).
*Women’s distance track: Valerie Massie (Snohomish).
Mike Cane: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.