Entering his 22nd season at the helm of Richland men’s soccer team, Sean Worley was just one game shy of his 300th win. It was a road game against Angelina.
The home team was resilient in the first half, but 15 minutes after the break, Richland forward Gustavo Lopez broke the dead-lock. Twelve minutes later, team captain Mateo Gutierrez sealed a 2-0 win that ensured Richland started the season on a high note and Worley etched his name in Richland’s history.
A San Jose native, Worley started his collegiate coaching career in California. He was an assistant coach at De Anza College for two seasons (1992-1994). Within that period, he helped guide the team to a Northern California State Championship.
In the fall of 1996, Worley’s career brought him to Dallas where he was appointed men’s soccer coach at Richland College.
His eyes never wandered. Worley won his first National Championship in 2002. He went on to win the title again in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and most recently, in 2016.
During his time at Richland, the Thunderducks have remained in the top 10 of the National Junior Athletic Association national rankings, but he has not always lifted the trophy when his team advanced to the finals.
Worley believes those losses strengthened the team.
“You know the only regret a coach has is when you lose a game and you don’t win a national championship, however, that’s part of competition, part of sports that makes us stronger [and] makes the team better.”
His time at Richland has been filled with rich memories.
“It’s hard to pinpoint favorite memories, but the one that always is special is watching the kids celebrate; to see the look on their face and to see the emotion and to see all the hard work pay off to watch the team celebrate National Championship,” he said. All six of those were special moments to be involved in.”
Over the course of his 22 years at Richland, Worley’s satisfaction never lied in the trophy cabinets, rather in the connections he has made.
“I get phone calls, e-mails. With social media, now we’re always keeping in contact and to hear from the alumni on how special it was to play here at Richland and what memories they have. That’s a wonderful feeling,” he said.
One connection that Worley made in 2006 is igniting the current crop of Richland players. Raul Herrera, Richland men’s assistant coach, played as a goalkeeper for one year before he transferred to Midwestern State University. He joined the Richland coaching staff in 2009 and Worley is grateful for him.
“We make a good combination. He’s a very good coach. I consider him kind of like a co-coach. We have a good relationship. He is a good recruiter.”
Worley found a formula that works and he left a long-lasting impact the lives of his players and the Richland community.
Concerning his future endeavors, he said he does not think too much about it.
“We have a game tonight. I just take it one day at a time. I mean, time goes by fast. It’s been a long run. It’s fulfilling, it’s fun, [and] it’s tiresome. It has everything, but the only way I can go on is [to take it] just one day at a time, one game at a time, one week at a time, one season at a time,” he said.