Sibling rivalry is a tale as old as time. It’s a battle to be better than the other, but at West Ranch High, the story is quite the opposite on the pitch.
Eric and Jared White, two brothers who are actually Canyon alumni have been working together to coach the West Ranch girls soccer team. Eric, the head coach, and Jared, his assistant, have been leaders for the girls for the last nine years. However, their roles weren’t always that way.
Until this season, Jared, the younger of the two, was the head coach and Eric was his assistant. Jared took the head coaching job at West Ranch in 2011, and thought it would be a good idea to bring his brother on board as his assistant. After all, Eric did help him get his start as a coach, bringing him on as an assistant at the club level just a few years prior.
We’ve always been close,” said Eric. “Coaching is just one of those things that it makes it easier because it’s something we love and we’re passionate about it.”
This year, Jared’s new teaching job in Lancaster made it difficult for him to make it back to West Ranch for practices. That’s when Eric stepped up and took over the head coaching role.
The duo began to laugh as they recalled the transition in roles at the start of the season.
“I had to dust the cobwebs off,” Eric said as he began to crack a smile. “I forgot how to do an entire game. I was used to just doing the defense for eight years. The first couple games I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to talk to the offensive players too, a little bit. I can’t leave them hanging.’”
The duo coached the Wildcats, returning most of last year’s roster, to a 1-2-1 record in the first four games of preleague, with a win against Bishop Montgomery. They’re hoping to build on last season’s success, which included a second-place finish in the Foothill League behind undefeated Hart.
Eric and Jared attribute their passion for coaching to their father. Starting when they were young, he made himself a part of their soccer careers even though he had more of a baseball mind himself.
“He was just always really good at being there with his sons,” said Eric. “My dad knew nothing about soccer, but he always found a way to use it as a tool with life lessons. Almost everything I learned I can relate to some teachable moment with him. That’s what got the intrigue for me in coaching.”
Now, both brothers want to pass on the life lessons to the girls on their team, using soccer as a way to prepare them for life outside of high school, just like their father did. They believe their similarities and personality but differences in opinion will create a better learning environment for their players.
“He looks at the game in a different way than I do, which is good,” said Jared. “We’re both very competitive. Some of those conversations get intense but we’re brothers. There’s a level of collaboration that can exist between us that maybe can’t exist between another dynamic.”.