HS Soccer Coach Profile: Southwest’s Boys Soccer Coach Roberto Jaramillo

A coach can be a student athlete’s first mentor or role model and the position of being a coach is an important one with lots of responsibilities. Every team wants to win as many games as possible. As great as it is to win, development and life lessons from playing the beautiful game should be just as important if not more.

Southwest High School Head Coach for Boys Soccer is Roberto Jaramillo, has coached the girls team for four seasons and the boys for the last five seasons. Coach Jaramillo has led some outstanding student athletes to be successful on and off the field. Coach Jaramillo last two seasons have been outstanding, going 23-1-0 in 2020/2021 and 21-0-0 during the shortened 2019/2020 season. Get to know Southwest High School Boys Soccer Head Coach: Robert Jaramillo.

Tell us a little about yourself, where did you grown up, attend school and starting in soccer (playing and/or coaching) and current roles besides coaching and some fun facts.

My name is Roberto Jaramillo. I grew up in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico and I moved to San Antonio when I was a freshman at Jefferson High School. Football or soccer has always been my best friend, and not only have I had fun with it but it has also helped me throughout my life. It made me a leader since my early childhood, and it’s been my biggest blessing (other than my family) in my life. I’ll give you an example. When I arrived from Mexico I felt lost. I went from being an outgoing, talkative kid to a very shy kid who was embarrassed to even speak since I didn’t know the language. I remember I would always go to the back of any classroom and would pray that the teacher wouldn’t ask me a question. I would even practice in my head over and over to do something as simple as saying “here” when the teacher was taking attendance. Thanks to soccer, I was able to make friends. I joined the soccer team and made the Varsity team. I can honestly say that it was the only experience that gave me pride that year. Soccer just transformed me. I was not shy on the field at all, and I used the little English I knew to communicate to try to organize our team. I will always be thankful to Coach Petsch now at Fredericksburg High School, for giving me the opportunity. Many times, we don’t realize the impact that we have on our student athletes. Coach Petsch who didn’t even know Spanish gave me the little push I needed to become the real ME again. 

How did you get into coaching? 

    I’ve always been fascinated by the organization of soccer teams. When I was 18, I wanted to win a championship with my dad who was playing his last few seasons at Levi’s Park. I wanted to coach a team because I thought we could have a chance. That was my first time coaching. I coached my uncles, school teammates and my dad. Sadly, we finished second after losing the final 2-1 but it was a great experience, and I just loved coaching. 

Prior to coaching did you play soccer, if so, what was your experience?

I played soccer in Mexico, and then moved here and played club with the Hammers for a few seasons. I also played in pretty much all the adult leagues here in San Antonio, Texas. I made a lot of friends and played for 2 national championships. Some of those friends are now coaching and have even become MLS referees. 

What advice do you have for anyone interested in becoming a soccer coach?

    It must be your passion! It’s going to be many hours and you better love what you do. The good thing is, that these hours go by fast! Even your season goes by too fast. We start the day after Thanksgiving break and go until April. Goes by fast so make sure you enjoy it! 

Coach Roberto Jaramillo during warmups. Photo by Soy SAF

What does working as a soccer coach mean to you on a personal level?

    It’s a dream come true! I coached soccer for free for many years. I coached all my cousins growing up and it was incredible. Now, I even get paid to do what I love! Crazy!!! 

What are your core values as a head coach?

    Commitment. I’ve been blessed with my teams here at Southwest. Every member has a job, and it’s very fulfilling to see young kids buy into the program. We have very high expectations and I trust them 100%. What high school kid gives up soda because his crazy soccer coach asked them to choose to do the right thing for their body? 

What have been some of your biggest challenges as a soccer coach?

    Sometimes you believe you have all the solutions, and then when things don’t work out, you feel down. You start getting doubts and that’s not a good feeling. I sometimes think I hate losing more than I like winning because of the lingering effects of a loss. You have to find the balance in order to keep improving as a coach. 

Do you think a coach is an important mentor and part of a student athlete’s development not just in sport but life? 

    I think we are the most important mentors. I know my coaches were for me. I had great experiences, and one bad one that I still believe shaped my life for a long time. That bad experience actually is the one that pushed me to become a coach, and to try to do better. 

Photo by Soy SAF

Do you have any coaches or mentors you look or have looked up to as inspiration?

    There’s many coaches I admire. My platonic coach is for sure Pep Guardiola. I love the way he looks at football. I identify with him because we both like extremely aggressive attacking football that is also organized when you defend. It’s very hard to get both and that’s what makes beautiful football. 

In my career, I still admire my high school coach. He didn’t know Spanish and I didn’t know English but he showed me how soccer can connect you with someone universally. Thank you, Coach Petsch! 

Pep Guariola has become a successful coach in Europe. Photo by MBP School of Coaches

Being a coach, you have to manage a roster of student athletes from different various backgrounds, how do you bring individuals together to make an effective Team?

    We all want the same thing, and we all have the same expectations. 

Southwest Dragons Boys has a lot of success the last few seasons, what was last year’s playoff experience like and what were some keys to the team’s success?

    We have extremely high expectations, and we made it to the 4th round playing beautiful football. The only way we can get to play this way is by playing together and demanding a lot from each other. We are still very hungry and we love to compete. We live for hard games, and this year we want to go all the way! 

Photo by Soy SAF

For those student athletes looking to continue playing soccer after high school in college or even possibly as a professional, what advice do you have?

    Be organized. Everybody says they want to do something special but what is your plan? You have to start with the end in mind and have a plan to get it. I always tell my players and my students that the decisions they make these years, maybe from 16-22 are going to shape the rest of their lives. I’m not quite sure where I heard it but I have always agreed with this statement. Do your job well, and choose to do the right thing at the appropriate time. It can’t be too early or to late ( just like a soccer pass) 

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