Bellevue resident Ryan Dortch has been a soccer guru his entire life.
The 35-year-old 1997 Issaquah High School graduate has coached teams for the Eastside FC Premier Soccer Club for the past 10 years, but began his coaching career while he was a student at Western Washington University in Bellingham in the late 1990s.
“I always loved soccer, but I didn’t play in college. I knew coaching was my passion. I started coaching youth soccer and it just went from there,” Dortch said.
Dortch’s passion for the sport paid dividends as he captured the US Youth Soccer Region IV Award in November. Region IV is composed of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah and Washington. Dortch, who is one of four regional winners in the United States, is a finalist for the US Youth Soccer National Awards, which takes place in January of 2015 in Philadelphia. Dortch received the Region IV award for his work with the Eastside FC Girls 95 premier soccer team. He coached the same squad for 10 years.
“All of the players on the team are freshman in college now or are seniors in high school. All of them are going to college or will be going to college and about half of the players are playing college soccer. It’s been really amazing to watch them grow up over the years,” Dortch said. “I enjoyed helping them grow as not only soccer players, but as people. Coaching the team has been a blessing and I can’t wait to see what these young women achieve in the future.”
Dortch said he’s thrilled his full-time job is as a soccer coach. He coaches two Eastside FC premier soccer teams and conducts training sessions for aspiring soccer players.
“When I graduated college I knew I didn’t want to have a regular job and wanted to coach full time. I feel really lucky to able to do that. It’s awesome,” he said.
Knowing the X’s and O’s of the soccer pitch is critical to being a successful coach.
“The sport is always evolving. The technical side and the tactical side of the game are the two areas I emphasize the most,” Dortch said.
Shaun Scott: 425-453-5045; email@example.com