Fresno youth soccer coach Michael Calvillo was one of four finalists for U.S. Youth Soccer’s Boys Recreation Coach of the Year award, traveling to Baltimore for Friday’s awards gala.
The other nominees were Delaware’s Pete Leida, Tim Feldman of Cincinnati, and Patrick McCrory of Arkansas, with McCrory winning the award.
“It’s actually very humbling,” Calvillo, 40, said of the nomination. “When I started out, I didn’t know what kind of coach I’d be.”
He grew up playing soccer and got into coaching once his sons Joseph, now 13, and Christian, 10, started kicking the ball around. The senior land planner for Pacific Gas and Electric has been a volunteer for 18 seasons, leading teams from age divisions of U-6 to U-14 for Fugman Soccer Club and FC Clovis.
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I tell these kids that if you put in the hard work and effort, you can accomplish anything.
Fresno youth soccer coach Michael Calvillo
Calvillo never expected it would land him on the national stage.
He was nominated by a group of parents for the California Youth Soccer Association’s District 7 Coach of the Year in 2014 (District 7 is one of nine in NorCal and includes most of Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare and Inyo counties). He was named CYSA Boys Recreational Coach of the Year, and later as Coach of the Year for Region IV (California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii).
“I’ve learned that you can make soccer bigger than what it is by incorporating life lessons,” he said.
Calvillo teaches his players sportsmanship, discipline and the value of hard work, and it has paid off on the field. He has coached teams to numerous Clovis Junior Soccer League titles and a State Founder’s Cup championship.
“I tell these kids that if you put in the hard work and effort, you can accomplish anything. If they can learn that through soccer, my only hope is that they go on and apply it to real life.”
The awards gala was part of the 2016 U.S. Youth Soccer Workshop at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America that featured more than 1,400 experts and specialists in the sport.
Calvillo was the second local boys recreation coach to be a national finalist. North Fresno Soccer League coach Gary Waltz won in 2007.