J. Hector Diaz is ambitious.
In an exclusive interview with Soccer Nation’s Cesar Hernandez, Chula Vista F.C.’s Director of Coaching opened up about his early start to his coaching career and his bold visions for the future of his club. At just 30 years of age, Diaz has already accomplished plenty in the youth soccer world, but is eager for much more.
Unlike most other coaches who tend to ply their trade in their 20s or 30s, Diaz started taking charge during his teenage years. “I was 15,” said Diaz. “I was an assistant [coach] when I was 15. At first I was still an assistant, but at 18, I had my own team. Now, a whole club.”
“We [Hector and his father] were already coaching across the border. I’m a U.S. born citizen, but … it was direct, it was a more competitive environment and a good soccer culture. Here [in the U.S.] it was barely starting to create that,” said Diaz.
While the youth soccer culture began to grow in Southern California, Diaz also started to become more intrigued by the sport as a leader on the sidelines. “We decided to go get our license to coach in Presidio [Soccer League]. We did, I liked it and the passion grew. At 18 I got my [National] D. I got my [National] D, my [National] C, then I went over to get my [National] B.”
As for his thoughts on youth soccer in San Diego, the 30-year-old appears very optimistic about the significant growth that has been made. “It’s awesome, it’s huge,” said Diaz. “Youth soccer-wise, it’s growing. It’s huge in San Diego and a culture has been created. You could influence the game a lot. It’s so young now locally and nationally, that I think that is why it is enticing to be more involved in it.”
The director of coaching sees plenty of potential in San Diego’s youth soccer scene and also believes there is room for more growth for Chula Vista F.C. on the youth and professional levels. “There’s lofty goals. Some people will think that they’re ridiculous goals, but I would like to eventually have every single [United States Soccer Development] academy age. I would like for us to have the U13s, the U14s, the U16s, the U18s. Right now we only have the U12s,” Diaz stated.
“I would like for us to have a second-division professional team, a third-division professional team. Maybe it’s USL or NASL, but I think there’s room for growth and there are enough fans to support it. Chula Vista is the second-largest city in the county of San Diego, it’s about 300,000 [residents]. Chula Vista alone could support it. Not only that, they were also thinking about bringing the [San Diego] Chargers not too long ago. I don’t know if it could support a San Diego Chargers franchise, but I do think that a small second, third-division professional club could. You see that in Europe, in even smaller cities,” said Diaz.
Be on the lookout for the director of coaching and his impressive plans for not only his club, but perhaps for the entire city of Chula Vista as well. It might be only a matter of time before the San Diego area gains another professional team.