Frank Ruiz, coach of the RH Soccer Club U-14 boys Select team and vice president of the club, answers this week's questions:
Q: How long have you been involved with the Richmond Hill Soccer Club (RHSC)?
A: I started playing soccer with RHSC when I was 5 years old until I began playing at the collegiate level. When I came back to Richmond Hill, I was asked to be an assistant coach for my little sister Mia’s recreation team. A few years later, I was asked to be the head coach for a recreation team and the U-19 select team because of my credentials from college. I coached the U-19 Boys Select team for about two years until I was asked to coach the U-14 Boys Select team. I have been coaching them for the last five years.
Q: What programs are you affiliated with? For how long have you been with this program?
A: Select, seven years. I am also the vice president of the club, responsible (for) the competitive division.
Q: What prompted your commitment to the program?
A: I’m 100 percent committed to my players. I am determined to coach my players all the way to the collegiate level. Our team is more than just a group of players, it’s a family.
Q: How have you seen growth in the program over the years?
A: Personally, I feel that the select program has been one of the most successful divisions of the RHSC. Each year, we are getting more and more talented and dedicated players. The U-19 select girls and U-19 boys select teams have won their divisions and have been promoted to higher divisions. It should speak volumes where each of these teams started and where they are now.
Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to RHSC?
A: When I first joined RHSC, I was misunderstood. People were hesitant on my style of coaching and discipline and how hard my conditioning was on my players; however, once they saw the respect my players had for the game and each other, not to mention the wins and promotions, they began to understand. Now, many other coaches are using some of my coaching methods.
Q: What advice can you offer for those on the fence about signing their kids up for this program?
A: You (parents) don’t have to travel far into Savannah to find a competitive team for your children to play on. There are many competitive teams your children can play on in your backyard. We have excellent coaches who are committed to helping their players succeed.
Q: Do you feel the programs offered contribute to the level of play at Richmond Hill High School and beyond?
A: The select program plays at a much higher level than RHHS. However, I do think that our players can play at a collegiate level.
Q: What do you feel children gain from being a part of such a program?
A: Players gain social skills, discipline and a hard-work ethic. Also, they gain a lifetime of friendships.