When soccer came to Thacher in 1922, the boys used to ride their horses out to the dusty gymkhana field, tie their horses up, play a match, and return to the stables; on a good day, they might bag a quail along the way. These days, boys head for practices and games on foot and compete on grassy fields overlooking the Ojai Valley, and the only shooting is at the goals. Soccer is still a favorite sport for students, though; Thacher regularly fields varsity, JV, and third teams. From students looking to take on a completely new challenge to those who are ready to be key players on the varsity team, the program has something for everyone.
When soccer became a winter sport in 2002, the varsity team embraced the opportunity to compete in the CIF playoffs, going all the way to the finals. In most seasons since then, the Toads have qualified for the post-season, often ranked among the top-ten teams in the Southern Section. Recent grads have gone on to play at schools like Amherst, Claremont-McKenna, Stanford, and Williams, while others have played on excellent club teams like USC and Pepperdine. While winning records and impressive playoff runs are exciting, the focus of the program is the same as it was when it began more than eight decades ago—creating tight knit teams of students who support each other and have the tenacity and mental toughness to overcome any challenge.
Juan grew up playing soccer in Costa Rica, often practicing for hours a day until it was too dark to see the ball. Throughout high school he played on the varsity team, first as goalie and later in the forward position. In college he played on the varsity team for two years until injuries prevented him from continuing his soccer career at the competitive level. He has a D license issued by the U.S. Soccer Federation and FIFA and has been coaching JV and varsity soccer teams for over 10 years.
Luis Jungo was born and raised in Ojai, where he still resides. In addition to working in the Business Office as an accountant and student accounts representative, he coaches soccer at Thacher. A lifelong devotee of the sport, Luis played for Oxnard Community College, where he earned the MVP award in his second year and ultimately an athletic scholarship to play at Hawaii Pacific University, where he also received his BS in accounting. He remains active in soccer by playing in a weekend adult league and working with young players. He has previously worked for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and other after-school organizations and tutored students.