By KEVIN BREIWICK
Don Nelson couldn’t have picked a better season to retire.
The Edmonds Community College men’s soccer coach announced he’s calling it quits, but not before the Tritons finished the regular season 16-0, becoming the first soccer team in Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges history to go unbeaten.
This was Nelson’s 11th year as the EdCC coach, and his 28th overall in coaching. In all, Nelson has spent 35 years of his life involved in soccer in some capacity.
He played for UCLA on a scholarship before playing pro soccer for six years, which helped pay for law school.
“I love the guys and everything,” Nelson said, “but 11 years is enough.”
After building the program to its current level, Nelson said, he was concerned about who would coach the team after him.
Nelson believes he found the perfect fit.
Assistant coach Eddie Fernandez, who also coaches the Lynnwood High School boys team, who take over head coaching duties next season.
“I’m sure he’ll do very well at Edmonds,” Nelson said.
Nelson isn’t completely leaving the sport, which has given him so many opportunities in life.
He will continue to coach his two local youth premiere teams with the Northwest Nationals – a U-16 girls team and a U-13 boys team.
EdCC finished the season Saturday with an 11-0 victory over Everett CC. Ryan Hopp (a Marysville-Pilchuck High School grad) and Paul Reish (Edmonds-Woodway) each scored three goals; and Pat Pollock and Jay Kendall (Snohomish High) scored two each.
EvCC finished the year at 1-15.
EdCC plays a quarterfinal playoff game against the No. 4 team from the Southwest on Sunday at a site to be determined. Nelson said they would like to play at Kamiak High School.
EdCC plays the Southwest No. 4 team in playoff quarterfinal Sunday at a site to be determined. North Idaho finished a close second at 13-3-0.
He said the team should have won three or four games.
“They still had a positive attitude,” Gilman said of his players.
With the Edmonds women’s team turning its program around, Gilman knows it’s possible to turn Everett the other direction.
But a more important issue for Gilman is academics.
“Academics comes first,” he said. “I don’t want someone to come for a quarter and disappear.”
Edmonds finished third at the Southwest Oregon tournament last week. The
Tritons defeated Lower Columbia and Lane on Friday and beat Centralia on Saturday, but were defeated by Southwest Oregon, the eventual tournament champion, on Saturday.
EvCC lost to Shoreline, 15-9,15-9,15-5, Monday to finish the season at 3-9. The Trojans competed in the Shoreline Tournament last week, but went 0-4.
Shoreline CC placed second, losing to Walla Walla.
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