LONGMONT -- Luis Chavez has been down this road before. In fact it was inevitable.
The Skyline Falcons soccer coach has had all of his kids play for him at some point during their high school careers -- from Josue (his oldest), to Jovanni and Gabe -- now to Diego, Luis Chavez has learned how to balance being a father and a coach to his sons.
"We've been having that conversation a lot lately, and ever since I coached my first son (Josue), they know they have the highest expectations and they kind of come in knowing what to expect," said Luis Chavez, who team is coming off a Tri-Valley League title and a run to the state quarterfinals in 2017. "They'll be the ones working harder, raising the bar of expectation, being disciplined, being respectful both on and off the field and trying to be the best they can as role models."
And while his first two sons were exceptional goal scores and leaders in the attacking third of the field, both Gabe and now Diego are goalies and are in control of the defensive third and their on-field leadership is invaluable.
Especially this season, when the new look Falcons (ranked No. 6 in the preseason Class 4A poll put out by CHSAANow.com), who graduated 17 seniors, are looking to not necessarily rebuild, but reload.
Diego Chavez has been dealing with an injury over the summer and while not yet at full speed (he will be ready for the start of the season), he has been ever-present at practice and understands his role. His father has been by his side the whole time.
"You can tell sometimes when dad takes over coach and says, 'you might want to sit out a few extras minutes and take care of yourself,'" said Diego Chavez, who had clean sheets in the Falcons' first two playoff games in 2017 against Pueblo Centennial and Durango. "As a coach, he really pushes me and that is something that dad just doesn't have control of ... it's pushing me in a different way."
Diego Chavez is wise beyond his years and even as a teenager, understands what is expected of him as a leader of this 2018 version of Falcons. Something that he was quick to admit, he learned from his brothers.
"They just said to remember to do your job and respect him, because he is still your dad," he said. "They said that he is going to want the best for you and that sometimes he isn't going to treat you like other players, but you just have to go with it."
Last year, Diego Chavez, a junior who has started in the cage since his freshman year, was in goal for a majority of the Falcons 18 games last season and kept 11 clean sheets for a team that ran the table in the Tri-Valley League and earned the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. And Luis Chavez has had the where-with-all to keep a goalie coach on his staff for the past few seasons to sort of give that different voice to what may very well be the most important position on the field.
"Not just saying this because he is my son, but he has done very well in that leadership roll," Luis Chavez said, "And the guys have responded to that."
Luis Chavez, whose team took eventual champion Air Academy to the brink only to lose 3-2 in the quarters, has a quiet confidence about them despite the number of personnel losses and they feel like the precedent of success has been set down for the future of the program.
"This year is going to be different, but I am excited about what is coming," Luis said. "Last year was great, but could've, should've and would've is not going to fix anything and I was just so proud of my boys that we played some good soccer against a team with great athletes.
"I am excited about what I see potentially happening, and my thinking is that we always have to keep our heads on our shoulders and our feet on the ground because we can't allow ourselves to get so excited about what we are seeing before we start competing."
The Falcons kick things off on Friday Aug. 24 at Greeley West and will play each of their Longmont rivals (Niwot, Silver Creek and Longmont) in their nonleague schedule.
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