The Homer boys soccer team will see a leadership change this spring, as longtime head coach Warren Waldorf makes his exit and an assistant coach replaces him.
Waldorf, who has led the team for the last 13 years, stepped down in June 2020, he said in an email. He did so to focus on caring for his parents, and to focus on a gardening project and community service contribution called Sweet Beet Produce.
“It was the right moment to make way for Adam Diaz, our very promising and dedicated young boys varsity soccer coach,” Waldorf wrote in the email.
While he stepped down in 2020, the last game Waldorf actually coached was in May 2019, when the boys varsity team made it to the state championship. The spring 2020 sports season was cancelled due to the then-growing threat of the novel coronavirus in Alaska.
Over the course of his total coaching career, Waldorf has logged 23 years and 12,000 hours managing soccer teams, he wrote, and mostly as a volunteer. He attributes some of that work ethic to a way of giving something back for “the gift of an extraordinary coach’s attention” when he was young.
“There’s something incredibly special about working with student athletes that want to be there, that want to show up and work hard,” Waldorf wrote. “Invariably I helped draw out their best efforts.”
In return, the players have pushed Waldorf over the years to up his own game, and become a better version of himself, he wrote.
“And for that I am eternally grateful,” he said.
Throughout his time leading the Homer boys, the team has had 99 wins to 65 losses and 15 ties, according to statistics provided by Waldorf. The team has appeared in six state championship tournaments under his tenure, starting in 2012.
The varsity team placed fourth in 2019, and its top state championship place was third. The team has taken third at state twice, the first time being in a tie with South Anchorage in 2014.
“Between Adam and Mike, their staff of former players, and everyone else that gives something to the high school soccer programs, the future of Mariner soccer looks bright,” Waldorf wrote.