After his first year teaching AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science, Jeff Panos has been hired as the next varsity girls head soccer coach.
Throughout his childhood in Long Beach, California, Panos played varsity soccer in high school along with club soccer. Despite solely focusing on his studies at UCLA, Panos still maintained his passion for soccer.
“I would remember waking up…with butterflies in my stomach with excitement to be able to play and that feeling just grew in terms of passion,” Panos said.
From North Carolina to nearby Cupertino, Panos has been coaching high school level soccer for 21 years and was the assistant varsity boys coach to Jim McGuirk this past season. Off the sidelines, McGuirk and Panos have been friends for 20 years, often coaching against each other while Panos coached at Cupertino High School and then at Serra High School, before the opportunity to coach together unfolded. Through his friendship with McGuirk, Panos has delved into the culture of the school and its athletic program and feels prepared to teach this nationally ranked team.
For the 2018-19 school year, the varsity girls soccer team had ranked 22nd in the state, with a league record of 10-1-1.
Panos strives to transfer his teaching abilities to the soccer field, as he believes his coaching is “an extension of the classroom.” Not only does he want to teach players about the game, but Panos also expressed his desire to give everyday life advice, stating that coaching is “50% talking about the game, and 50% teaching young kids how to become better people.”
Additionally, maintaining and strengthening a strong team culture while giving sound technical advice is essential to Panos.
My goal is to instill a team building concept where the players love to be around one another… and are willing to do whatever it takes for the person standing next to them.”
“The difference between just getting to those tournaments, and winning them sometimes can be a very fine line of team chemistry,” Panos said. “So my goal is to instill a team building concept where the players love to be around one another… and are willing to do whatever it takes for the person standing next to them.”
Panos described the sport of soccer as an art form, requiring 11 moving parts to flow together in order to form a successful team. He emphasizes that each player contributes to the accomplishments achieved by the team.
“I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to not only coach but also teach at a fantastic high school,” Panos said. “I’ve loved every minute I’ve done here so far, and I look forward to more good things ahead.”