Coach Ian Hill wants Western Nevada College soccer to be national-level program |

Coach Ian Hill wants Western Nevada College soccer to be national-level program

Western Nevada College President Chet Burton speaks about the school's new 'club' soccer program at the Dini Library and Student Center Thursday.
Brad Coman | Nevada Appeal

Ian Hill, who’s overseeing Western Nevada College’s new club soccer program, doesn’t expect to waste any time in making WNC a top-level program.

He expects his premiere level men’s team to be competing for a national title right from the get-go this fall. Hill and the first three players he’s brought in to play for WNC’s premiere men’s team — Abel Sanchez, Salvador Rodriguez and Christopher Garcia — were introduced Thursday during an event on campus to launch the school’s club soccer program.

It all gets started Aug. 20 when WNC will host its first club soccer game at what will be its home field, John L. Harvey Field, which has been the home of WNC’s intercollegiate baseball team for the past 15 seasons. WNC will host Folsom Lake (Calif). Community College, an intercollegiate program on that day. WNC also has already scheduled another game with an intercollegiate program, Southern Oregon.

WNC is disbanding its baseball and softball programs this spring and the school’s president, Chet Burton addressed the decision that was made to disband the “very successful” programs.

“Our soccer program is going to be a stable piece of how we support the school.”Lilly Leon-VicksWNC Coordinator of Student Life

“We had to make an unfortunate decision,” Burton said, adding the intercollegiate programs were “just not financially sustainable.”

About the soccer programs, Burton said, “It’s going to be integral I feel to the direction we’re going.”

No scholarships will be given to athletes in the soccer program and no institutional dollars will be given to the program. Hill did say the Associated Students of Western Nevada could give some money it receives from the school to the programs, but the bulk of funds for the program will come from fundraising.

But Hill said this area has a passion for soccer and noted 5,000 kids in the community play the sport.

“It’s so much more than just club sports,” said WNC Coordinator of Student Life Lilly Leon-Vicks about what the programs will mean to WNC. “Our soccer program is going to be a stable piece of how we support the school.”

Hill plans to have three levels of men’s and women’s soccer club programs all up and running by this fall. There will be the premiere men’s and women’s teams, which will compete at the highest level, competitive developmental men’s and women’s teams, and men’s and women’s intramural teams open to anyone on the WNC campus.

Hill has overseen a similar men’s program at Lake Tahoe Community College and noted that program went 23-2 under his direction against such four-year programs as Stanford and California.

The Lake Tahoe and WNC men’s premiere teams will be combined this fall and will be known as the Western Nevada College Wildcats. Hill said that arrangement will be re-evaluated heading into the spring, but the ultimate plan is for WNC to have its own programs and for him to transition away from Lake Tahoe to devote his time solely to the WNC programs.

WNC will compete against club programs in the West Coast Soccer Association. WNC also will play non-conference games against intercollegiate two-year and four-year programs.

The West Coast Soccer Association includes club teams from Pac 12 schools. But Hill noted those club teams include many players with Division I experience. WNC will play up to 40 games during the fall and spring seasons.

Hill said a reason why players chose the club route is because it is a more conducive way to moving onto a four-year program.

All three players introduced Thursday said it was important for them to play for a school in their area and where they live.

Two of the players are from last year’s State Championship Carson High boys soccer team — Sanchez and Rodriguez. Sanchez scored the “Golden Ball,” the game-winning goal in overtime to beat Wooster for the state title.

Rodriguez is already taking classes at WNC through the Jump Start program. Hill called him one of the top three players in the state.

Garcia is from North Valleys and has transferred from Lake Tahoe where he helped the intercollegiate team there advance to the California State Final Four. A midfielder and defender, Garcia also led North Valleys to the state semifinals.

Hill also said he has two players from England and a player from Scotland who are committed to play for the men’s premiere team and believes he’s going to have enough talent to compete for a national title this fall.