No Retirement in Sight for Soccer’s John Napier
Although he has reached an age when many men begin to think about retiring to a quiet and shady lake where the fish rarely disturb your meditation, John Napier continues to run at full speed and then some. Well-known as a top coach in Southern California, his schedule would make a much younger man pause and wonder, “What am I doing?”
Napier spent 17 years as a professional in England and has played over 30 years at all levels. He has also spent over 35 years as a coach, including 32 years running his own annual summer camps in Escondido and now Temecula. He is currently the coach of the San Diego Soccer Club (SDSC) B2000 Navy Elite and BU-10 Navy teams, as well as head coach of the Cal South ODP Girls 96 team.
|SDSC B2000 Navy Elite congratulate runners-up CSC Red at the 2012 Pegasus Cup award ceremony
||Coaches John Napier (L) and Tony Fernandez (R) introduce their teams at the 2012 Pegasus Cup award ceremony
As if all that were not enough, Napier is also head coach for coaching education in San Diego County. He is presently in the middle of a two-weekend session with 45 coaches who are working on their U.S. National “D” license at Mesa Community College. Topping it all off, as a member of the board for FC Heat in Escondido he is working on scheduling for 220 Presidio Soccer League home games at Ryan Park. Somehow he even manages to write an occasional article on the game he loves.
“I did not see one game of the EURO championships,” Napier said recently, “which shows how busy I am. I don't have TiVo, but that would not make a difference as my days are 12 hours long. I go take care of my teams after camp and get home after 8:00 p.m. I hardly even time to see my wife.”
Still, somehow Napier manages to put successful teams on the pitch. Most recently his ODP Girls 96 team played the U.S. U-15 National Team to a 1-1 draw at The Home Depot Center, after holding a 1-0 lead up until the final ten minutes. The SDSC BU-10 team he took over a few months ago has shown progress and recently reached the semifinals in their bracket at Pegasus Cup, falling to Pateadores in penalty kicks.
His B2000 Navy Elite, though, continues to be the team showing the most success. In January the team played up a year at BU-12 Gold Flight in the Cal South Presidents Cup tournament, ultimately defeating a strong CV Manchester Academy BU-12 side 3-1 in the finals. Then in May they won the BU-11 Gold bracket at Legends Cup, beating Real So Cal White 3-1 in the finals.
The team’s most recent success was at Pegasus Cup, where they went undefeated and only gave up one goal in pool play. SDSC opened the tournament by defeating CSC Red 5-0 on Saturday, June 23, and then beat Nomads later that day with a 2-0 score. Their only goal allowed in pool play came on Sunday against Carlsbad Lightning Black, where they won 5-1. They then played a rematch against CSC Red for the championship, notching a 4-1 victory.
| SDSC B2000 Navy Elite show off their ribbons and championship trophy at Pegasus Cup
While Napier’s schedule is hectic, he would not have it any other way. For him, as for so many others like him, soccer is his life. It is fortunate for San Diego County and Southern California that he has chosen to share that life here.
John Napier Girls 96 ODP Head Coach