2021 Seasons web 2

Denton Diablos’ Forward Sam Garza Embracing Life as Coach While Looking Forward to NPSL Season

By Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com

Sam Garza of the Denton Diablos has joined Marcus High School in Texas and was recently
promoted to be the head coach of the varsity boys soccer team. Though coaching runs in Garza’s
family, he did not envision himself in a coaching role, but has come to love it.

“I have a family full of coaches, mom was a coach, sister was a coach, grandpa was a former
NFL player turned coach, but honestly I never saw myself coaching,” Garza said. “But the
opportunity arose and I grabbed it and ran with it, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever
made other than kicking a soccer ball, I love it.”

Garza began his career where he now coaches, Marcus High School, and from there went on to
UC Santa Barbara where he was the first UCSB Gaucho to also play for the U.S. U-20 Men’s
National Team. Following four successful years at UCSB, Garza entered the MLS SuperDraft
where he was selected sixth overall by the San Jose Earthquakes. In addition to his time with the
Quakes, Garza also played for Seattle Sounders FC 2 and Arizona United SC before joining
Denton. It was during his time with Arizona United SC that Garza had the chance to start his
coaching career with Marcus.

“I was playing professionally in Arizona, they needed a head coach a month before the season
started and I had substitute taught in the school before, so I saw that as an opportunity, went into
the principal and asked if I could jump in and be the interim coach for the year,” Garza said. “It
was kind of a crazy situation but it’s how I got into it and I’m so happy I did.”

Garza went on to emphasize his love for coaching and the relationships he is able to build.
Garza’s varsity boys squad is currently one of the top-ranked teams in Texas and holds an
undefeated 6-0-1 record.

While he was coaching at Marcus, Garza was approached by former Marcus High School soccer
coach and current Denton Diablos head coach Chad Rakestraw to join the Denton Diablos as a
player. The opportunity of course appealed to Garza, but he also was somewhat hesitant to jump
in right away, but now he is glad he took the plunge.

“Chad (Rakestraw) wanted me to come in to play and I was a little suspect at first, but I gave it a
try and I enjoyed it and we were very successful this past year,” Garza said. “I’ve had a lot of
success as a player, played at a very high level so I just wanted to help the college kids and I
hope they learned from me on the field.”

Rakestraw certainly recognized and appreciated Garza’s impact and influence on his team, both
on and off the pitch.

“Sam’s experience in pro soccer has been invaluable to our team,” Rakestraw said. “Not only
does he bring a different level of quality to the field, he provides a vital link of communication between coaching staff and players. He has been a huge part of the Diablos first year success
and will continue to be for years to come.”

Garza certainly plans on continuing his time with the Diablos and hopes to continue to hone his
coaching abilities while he’s there.

“I told Chad hey look I want to play, but I know there are college players who need minutes,”
Garza said. “I plan on playing, my role with the team, who knows, maybe some days I’ll coach
some days I’ll play, whatever Chad needs I’m there.”

While Garza was in high school he was coached by current FC Dallas Boys Director of Coaching
John Gall, and Gall knows that Marcus High School’s program is in good hands.

“I’m absolutely elated for Sam and the program,” Gall said. “I know what Marcus means to him.
It’s in his blood and it makes me proud that he is where he wants to be.”

With Garza’s wealth of experience as a professional player and now as a high school coach,
Denton Diablos have an important piece to help lead their team on and off the pitch.

Photo Credit: Daniel McCullough

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