Former YC Soccer Player: Champion On and Off The Field
February 26, 2014
Written by Nancy Schafer
Yavapai College’s former defender from 2002 and 2003 was just inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
The young man from Oregon wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do after high school. His strength and talent revolved around a black and white ball, which he hoped would bring him a college education. Having played soccer from the time he was 4 with the support of his parents, Mark and Karen, and his two brothers Corey and Matt, he continued to excel in his sport throughout high school in Oregon. With his excellent playing, Josh Westermann assumed that he could nail a good scholarship to pay for his college years. However, only partial scholarships had been offered until that fateful day when he was approached by Mike Pantalione and Hugh Bell from Yavapai College who could offer him close to a full ride at Yavapai College.
Those two years in Arizona gave Josh the opportunity to nurture his passion for soccer while discovering his passion for Jesus Christ. As Josh tells it, through the professional program and high standards required of the YC players by Pantalione and Bell, the team was able to capture two national championships (2002 and 2003). He recounts that those years were “two of the best years of my life.” Not only was it an exciting time with the back-to-back championships, he also enjoyed the community support and the academic environment in which faculty, teammates, and coaches made him feel at home in Prescott, Arizona.
Yavapai College became the stepping-stone in the continuing pursuit of his two passions. As Josh puts it: “God was leading the way.” He went on to play soccer for Gonzaga University in Washington and graduated in 2006. During his junior year summer, he played for AIS, Ambassadors in Sport, a Christian organization that sends soccer players around the world. And, indeed, since graduating, Josh has played around the world from Cleveland to Nairobi, from Salem, Oregon, to South Africa. And everywhere he has gone, he has been able not only to play professionally but also to reach out to local youth and communities through the soccer ball. He has played soccer in the streets and in prisons. He has coached, lead clinics for youth, and prepared prisoners for success outside of prison walls. All of this came about because of two special years in the Yavapai College soccer program. He recounts that he experienced some incredible adventures in Africa both on and off the field. With the passion for soccer running high in those nations, he has seen riots on the field, and he has seen lives touched on the streets filled with poverty and sometimes violence. “Something as simple as a soccer ball breaks down all cultural barriers.” Josh has seen that sports can be a powerful tool to overcome adversity and to communicate love.
While Josh was playing soccer professionally in Kenya in 2010, mutual friends introduced him to his future wife Amy, who was teaching at an international Christian school. Theirs became a whirlwind romance when Josh blew out his knee and had to return to the US for surgery. After they married, they settled back in the States, and Josh began to coach soccer in various venues and at various levels, from high school to youth clubs to community college. While coaching the women’s team at Cochise College in Arizona in 2011, he began pursuing his Masters in Sports Management online from Liberty University. At this time, he was offered the job as assistant coach for the men’s and women’s soccer teams at San Diego Christian University. Once he and Amy settled in the San Diego area, he also took up opportunities to support soccer in the local area. Now he is not only the head coach for the women’s team and assistant coach for the men, he is also the assistant director for the Liverpool Soccer Club, overseeing 30 local teams and coaching boys. Amy is teaching kindergarten at a local school, and they are expecting their first child in July.
As a fulltime coach, Josh pulls from his experiences both in Africa and in Arizona. Following Pantalione and Bell’s example, he views coaching as an opportunity to pour into the lives of his players. He leads by example and wants to promote character development, determination, and faith in his players. His wife Amy says he has a soft heart but expects the best from his players. When asked about his advice for Yavapai College players, he replied, “Yavapai College is a “fantastic opportunity.” He thinks future players shouldn’t take their opportunity for granted: “Give it everything you’ve got. Stick with what matters and don’t get distracted.” He feels players should pursue their academics with just as much dedication as their sport. He added, “Don’t get discouraged at first while honing your skills if you aren’t getting the playing time you hoped for. The work, time, and patience will pay off in all areas.”
Yavapai Soccer Coach Sets All-Time JUCO Wins Milestone
November 16, 2013
The Yavapai College men’s soccer team captured the NJCAA West District Championship with a 3-0 victory over Otero Junior College (Colorado) on November 9 in Prescott, Arizona. The victory was the 100th playoff win for the Roughriders and the 535th for Mike Pantalione, Yavapai’s only Head Coach in their storied history. In 25 years at Yavapai College, Pantalione’s all-time record now stands at an astounding 535-45-22. At the top of the junior college coaching annals, he overtook former Ulster County Community College (NY) coach George Vizvary, who posted a 534-163-28 mark in 37 seasons. The win advanced Yavapai College to their 20th national tournament since 1990, the most appearances by any JUCO Division One program. The Prescott school has captured seven national championship and were national runners-up six times. This year’s NJCAA National Tournament will take place in Tyler, Texas beginning Nov. 18.
November 9, 2013
Yavapai College defeated Otero Junior College of La Junta, Colorado 3-0 Saturday afternoon to capture the NJCAA West District Championship. As a result, the Roughriders will make their 20th appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament in Tyler, TX beginning on November 18th. That also marks the 20th West District title and the 71st overall championship (conference, region, district, national) for the program that started in 1989. The 20 tournament appearances are the most of any junior college program in the country.
The victory is the 100th post-season win in the history of the storied program and the 535th overall victory for the program’s only head coach Mike Pantalione making him the NJCAA all-time coaching leader for wins surpassing long time Ulster County Community College (NY) head coach George Vizvary. Vizvary retired in 2010 after 37 years at the helm. Pantalione is in his 25th season at Yavapai College.
The Roughriders scored all their goals in an 18-minute stretch. Scoring Summary:
37th minute – Matthew Paine assisted by Yabin Cruz
43rd minute – Jake Winship assisted by Matthew Paine
55th minute – James Ampleford assisted by Yabin Cruz
Goalkeeper Bradley Trella played all 90 minutes in goal to record the shutout, the 316th in the program’s history.
Yavapai is now 18-2-4 on the season while Otero Junior College finishes with a 16-6-0 record.
The group pairings and schedule for the NJCAA National Tournament will be announced on Tuesday, November 12th. Twelve teams will participate in the tournament that will run from Nov. 18-23 on the campus of Tyler Junior College.
Region Title #21
November 5, 2013
The Roughrider soccer team won their 21st NJCAA Region I Championship since 1990 Saturday night over Phoenix College, 1-1 (5-4 in penalty kicks) at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix, home of Yavapai’s 2008 National Title. The match marked the first time that a Roughrider team has played an away match in Region Play-off action (40-3 in region playoff action). With the victory YC advances to the NJCAA West District Finals against Otero Junior College, CO. On the season, Yavapai is now 17-2-4 and Phoenix College finishes their season at 16-1-5.
In capturing the Region title, the Roughriders now own 70 championships, which include conference, region, district and national crowns. Additionally, Saturday night’s win was the program’s 99th post-season advancement in single elimination competition.
40th minute – Phoenix
80th minute – Matthew Paine assisted by Asa Goldsmith
For his efforts, goalkeeper Bradley Trella was named the Region Most Valuable Player.
On Saturday, November 9th, Yavapai will be seeking a trip to the NJCAA National Championship, which would be their 20th since 1990, by far the most of any junior college in that time span.
Yavapai will be facing Otero Junior College, CO. The Rattlers are 16-5 on the year with an impressive 14-game winning streak. Otero beat Laramie County, WY, 2-1 for the right to advance to the West District Championship game.
Saturday’s match will be played at Ken Lindley Field in Prescott with kick-off slated for 2:00 PM. The winner of that game will advance to the NJCAA National Tournament November 18-23 in Tyler, TX.
Volleyball Makes Donation to YRMC Breast Cancer Center
October 30, 2013
On Saturday September 7th Yavapai Volleyball teamed with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Volleyball for the Crosstown Battle Against Breast Cancer match. The two coaching staffs met for the first time in July and decided to combine their efforts toward fundraising and bringing more awareness to the local community about breast cancer issues. The decision was quickly made to keep the monetary donation local so that Yavapai County saw the most benefit from the fundraising efforts of the two volleyball teams. The Breast Cancer Center at YRMC in Prescott Valley was selected as the organization to benefit from the fundraising efforts.
The majority of funds raised came from the selling of pink T shirts by the athletes and coaches from the Roughriders and Eagles teams. Today the teams officially met with Nancy Ledoyen, a representative for YRMC, and donated $4080.86 and an autographed pink volleyball to the Breast Care Center.