The Centralia High School girls soccer program has a new head coach, but it’s a familiar name.
New skipper Noel Vazquez is a veteran of Lewis County soccer with an impressive resume at the 2B level. Vazquez has coached seven years at Toledo and built a program that has placed sixth, fifth and fourth in the state playoffs.
Now he will be taking over for a Centralia team that is looking to be consistent and competitive on the field. Vazquez is a common face in the Hub City already, working for the Port of Centralia and helping out as an assistant coach for the Centralia College women’s team and the Twin City select soccer program.
“My expectations are to win as many games as possible and to get better every game,” Vazquez said. “We have a new wave of success coming into Centralia High School in every sport. Volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball have all seen success this year and I’m hoping we continue that.”
Vazquez is known for his positive mindset and being happy no matter the outcome. He’s a graduate of Rochester High School, where he holds several school soccer records, and he helped lead the Warriors to 16 straight wins. He takes over for Henry Gallagher, who has been pulling double duty as both the boys and girls soccer coach at Centralia. Vazquez has already been coaching with Gallagher so understanding the team’s current system won’t be an issue.
Entering into the Evergreen 2A Conference, Vazquez will have plenty of competition as WF West and Tumwater are always teams to be reckoned with. Black Hills, Aberdeen and Rochester have added depth and Shelton is still new to the league. None of this fazes Vazquez, who knows that it’s all about leaving it out on the field.
“Hard work beats talent that hardly works,” Vazquez said, while not referencing other schools’ work ethic but rather his expectations for the team. “We have to believe that we can make something happen.”
Vazquez admitted it will be emotional coaching against Rochester, a place at which he has so many fond memories.
“Everytime we would go there, I would see former coaches,” Vazquez said. “I hate winning there because I really feel connected to the school but of course anytime I go there with my team, I will be trying to win.”
Vazquez has been a coach at Centralia College since 2016, coaching goalkeepers and moving into an assistant coach position while also coaching at Toledo. The schedule will work out better for Vazquez, who will be coaching Centralia High School and Centralia College on different days.
He also added that he was extremely grateful for his players from Toledo and expects great things from them moving forward. He said it was a hard decision to make to move up to a bigger classification but that his players were supportive of the move.
The Centralia team won’t be new to Vazquez as he has coached many of the players in the Twin Cities Union program, some since middle school.
“It’s a busy schedule but I’ll make it work. The people at the Port of Centralia are extremely supportive of what I do, and I enjoy coaching soccer,” Vazquez said. “It’s going to be a challenge but it will be very exciting.”