Claborn new­est Griz­zlies coach

Prep soc­cer: Claborn takes over boys team af­ter serv­ing as in­terim head coach last year

The Signal - - Sports - By Dan Lovi Sig­nal Staff Writer

The Golden Val­ley ath­let­ics depart­ment an­nounced the hir­ing of Ken Claborn as its new var­sity head soc­cer coach in a press re­lease dis­trib­uted on Tues­day.

Along with Freddy Wheeler, who will be as­sist­ing the girls soc­cer team this sea­son, Claborn joined the pro­gram last year just two days prior to the start of the sea­son.

“When they first ap­proached me they were in a tough sit­u­a­tion be­cause they had an is­sue with their pre­vi­ous coach. So they had to make a change pretty quickly,” Claborn said. “They trusted (us) with the pro­gram and things re­ally seemed to be­come or­ga­nized and more struc­tured. I think that’s what led them to have a lot of con­fi­dence in us.”

Claborn is the def­i­ni­tion of a soc­cer “lifer.” He started play­ing at the youth level, then moved on to club soc­cer. He played cen­ter mid­fielder at Brea Olinda High School in Or­ange County and helped his team win a CIF cham­pi­onship in his ju­nior sea­son. He was named cap­tain of his team in his se­nior year and his team reached the CIF fi­nals once again, though they lost.

He con­tin­ued to play at the com­mu­nity col­lege level and then in semi-pro leagues dur­ing his 20’s. Af­ter his play­ing days were over, Claborn stayed in­volved in the game be­cause sev­eral of his friends were coaches at youth and club lev­els.

Claborn also comes from a coach­ing back­ground. His dad was a foot­ball, wrestling and golf coach for al­most 25 years at Esper­anza High School in Ana­heim. How­ever, it was when he started coach­ing his own kids that Claborn re­ally fell in love with the pro­fes­sion.

“When I had kids, I started coach­ing them in AYSO (Amer­i­can Youth Soc­cer Or­ga­ni­za­tion) up into the club lev­els,” he said. “That was the start­ing point in which I re­al­ized how much I loved it. I kept go­ing with it and one thing led to an­other.”

Claborn, who has been a li­censed chi­ro­prac­tor for 21 years and owned his own prac­tice in Granada Hills, de­cided to fo­cus on coach­ing full-time.

He now takes over a pro­gram that

has strug­gled in re­cent years, hav­ing won only two league games since the 2013-14 sea­son.

Claborn knows it will take time to get things mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion, but for now, his main con­cern is mak­ing sure his stu­dent-ath­letes are pre­par­ing dili­gently both on and off the pitch.

“Aca­demics first. As long as they are do­ing their best with their aca­demics

and re­spect­ing the process with their ath­let­ics,” Claborn said. “Re­spect­ing the cul­ture of prac­tice and re­spect­ing the com­pe­ti­tion. Giv­ing their best ef­fort and show­ing in­tegrity through­out ev­ery­thing they do.

“Ul­ti­mately that’s what’s go­ing to take them through the rest of their lives. How hard they try. Are they com­mit­ted? Show­ing up ev­ery day. That’s what we’re look­ing for at this point.”

Golden Val­ley opens the sea­son at home on Wed­nes­day, Nov. 14, against Palm­dale Aero­space Academy. The match be­gins at 3:15 p.m.

Claborn

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