Michael Jacobson hopes to restore glory of El Camino soccer

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Michael Jacobson hopes to restore glory of El Camino soccer

New Head Coach Michael Jacobson has high hopes for his squad coming into the new season. Photo credit: Fernando Haro

New Head Coach Michael Jacobson has high hopes for his squad coming into the new season. Photo credit: Fernando Haro

New Head Coach Michael Jacobson has high hopes for his squad coming into the new season. Photo credit: Fernando Haro

New Head Coach Michael Jacobson has high hopes for his squad coming into the new season. Photo credit: Fernando Haro

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At practice, Michael Jacobson looks calm and focused.

His eyes move left to right, up and down, following the ball, studying its every movement and detail; down to the stitching of the ball.

Jacobson, 43, was hired in the spring semester to coach and lead the men’s soccer team to their first title run since 2014. Before that, the last title was in 1991, Jacobson said.

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Jacobson believes his team's biggest challenge this season will be Cerritos College. Photo credit: Fernando Haro

A Redondo Beach resident, Jacobson spent a major part of his career on the east coast. He played soccer at Syracuse University and graduated in 1998 with a degree in Physical Education.

He went on to have successful playing stints on the Albany Alleycats on the now-defunct Myrtle Beach Seadawgs in what is now known as the United Soccer Leagues, a Division II professional soccer league.

He holds an “A” license, the second to last available license for soccer coaches, from the United States Soccer Federation, allowing him to coach players at the professional level.

Most recently, Jacobson was the assistant coach of the Golden Eagles Men’s soccer team at Cal State LA who play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes.

Despite being an assistant coach at the college level, Jacobson was the head coach of multiple youth development teams such as L.A. Galaxy Southbay, an affiliated club team of the L.A. Galaxy soccer team.

There he coached groups of 9-19-year-old soccer players.

He has championship experience, guiding Cal State L.A. to titles in 2011and 2013 and Cal State Dominguez Hills to a championship appearance in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Jacobson did not hear about El Camino out of the blue. Since he lives in the area, “this head coach job would be potentially open one day,” Jacobson said.

He did not think twice about applying. “When you have an opportunity to be a head coach at the college level, that part has been missing from my career and I’ve been an assistant with many many programs and it was always a goal of mine to run my own program,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson brings over his experience coaching Division I and Division II teams and runs the team at El Camino as such.

To help him on and off the field, Jacobson has brought on first-year assistant coaches Steven Barrera, Kevin Gallaugher, and Bruce Myhre.

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Jacobson poses with Assistant Coaches Kevin Gallaugher (left) and Steven Barrera (right). Photo credit: Fernando Haro

With them, he makes up a newly remodeled “younger” and “hungrier” staff, focused on instilling and it is working.

Coming in with a 2-2-1record, the roster show potential and at practice, the players show their ambition.

Redshirt freshman Steve Montoya, 17, recognized that potential and chose to play for El Camino because of their great soccer program, Montoya said.

Montoya believes it is Jacobson’s demand for excellence and persistence that will change the bad run the program has been on in recent years.

Jacobson has not had much trouble adjusting to the different level of competition. ” The levels are different. Cal State L.A. is a nationally ranked program at the division-2 under the NAIA. umbrella and this is at the JC level. The levels are a little bit slower but the ambition is the same; the goals, the objectives, they’re the same,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson does not plan on going anywhere soon. Living in Redondo Beach with his wife, Nicole, son, Jack, and daughter, Rachel, Jacobson thinks this could be a very long staying and rewarding job.

“I don’t think like that about having this be my stepping stone to move on. I just want to be here and try to do good work,” Jacobson said.

The coaching job is not restricted to on-field responsibilities only.

Student-athletes at El Camino are here for various reasons, whether it is personal, academic, or financial issues, the goal is to get players to move on, Jacobson said.

An objective of his is to develop his players into great student-athletes who can understand what they are learning about on and off the field and implement it in proper situations.

He goes about doing this by mentoring his players and changing their bad habits, Jacobson said.

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Jacobson discussing tactics with his player. Photo credit: Fernando Haro

For a new coach, the first season can be critical. There is scrutiny, doubts, and jeers of fans looking to earn the bragging rights from their team’s success.

Although it is his first year, Jacobson has his eyes on a realistic target, the playoffs.

Ultimately, Jacobson and his team will demonstrate they are ready to compete in the fierce South Coast Conference.

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