Mike Popp, who led the Carson High girls soccer team to two Northern 4A championships, resigned on Friday afternoon. Popp has accepted a teaching job in the Los Angeles area at Simi Valley High School, where he will also be the boys varsity soccer coach.
"I've actually been looking to go back home for awhile now," said Popp, who is a 1983 graduate of El Segundo High in Southern California. "My wife and I don't have any ties to Nevada and we just wanted to both go back to where both our families are."
Popp's brother lives in Thousand Oaks, his mother in Santa Barbara and his father in Manhattan Beach. The 38-year-old coach graduated with a bachelor's degree in math from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, then earned a master's degree in education from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix before coming to Carson City in 1991. He worked with Norwest Financial for six years before taking over the Carson girls varsity program in 1998. He coached the JV team the previous two seasons. He has taught math at Carson High for the past five years.
In his first season he led the Senators to their first ever zone championship. The feat started a trend that kept Carson in the running for league and zone championships every year during his five years with the program.
Popp also led the Senators to the 2001 zone title and a runner-up finish in 1999. He has coached several players who have gone on to play college soccer, including Ali Banister, who will be a sophomore at Nevada, and Allison Kop, who started every game for the St. Mary's Gaels last season as a freshman.
Carson went 15-1-2 in 2000 and its zone title the following year capped off a 17-0-1 season, becoming the first team since Wooster in 1993 to finish a season undefeated. Popp, who compiled a 9-3 playoff record, struggled through a rebuilding year in 2002. But he still led Carson to the zone playoffs, where it lost to Reed in the first round. Carson will lose six seniors from the 2002 team but he eaves the program in good shape.
"The team should be pretty good next season," said Popp, who will teach math at Simi Valley. "The girls coming up from the JV team are all pretty solid. If we're not competing for a championship next season, we will be for sure the following year."
Possible replacement candidates are unavailable at this time. But Randy Roser, the Nevada Wonders' General Manager and current Carson High boys varsity assistant coach, could be in the running, Popp said.
Popp was offered the new teaching job on Monday and didn't hesitate in accepting it. He also had teaching and coaching offers for jobs at Moorpark High School and El Segundo before choosing on Simi Valley.
"El Segundo was a little expensive and I thought Simi Valley was the best opportunity," said Popp, whose wife, Angie, also went to El Segundo High. "My wife and I thought this would be the best time to move the kids before they get too old."
Mike and Angie have an 11-year-old daughter Brooke and a 9-year old daughter named Cassie.