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Peninsula men's soccer head coach Rodriguez leaves for UC-Irvine coaching job

Cale Rodriguez pictured with fiancee, former Peninsula women’s assistant coach Dana De Vaughn.

By - Peninsula Daily News

Wed Jan 25th, 2017

PORT ANGELES Peninsula College men’s soccer coach Cale Rodriguez, who led the men to a Northwestern Athletic Conference championship in 2015, resigned Friday and has taken a position as an assistant coach at the University of California, Irvine.

UC-Irvine is an NCAA Division I school that plays in the Big West Conference. Rodriguez played and coached as an assistant at the University of Redlands, which is near to Irvine, so the move to the Southern California school is a bit of a homecoming for him.

“It’s good to get back home and closer to family, ” Rodriguez said. Joining Rodriguez on his move to Irvine is his fiancee, former Peninsula women’s assistant coach Dana De Vaughn.

Rodriguez said he had a great experience at Peninsula College.

“It was the first school to give me an opportunity to be a head coach and I’m very grateful for that opportunity,” he said. “It was a good situation to be in. I had an opportunity to work with talented soccer players.

“I wouldn’t be here without the Peninsula experience,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said he is talking with a Peninsula sophomore player about possibly transferring to UC-Irvine to continue playing for him and has an interest in possibly bringing a couple of Peninsula freshman to Irvine after they’re done playing in Port Angeles.

Rick Ross, Associate Dean for Athletics and Student Programs, said Peninsula will begin a national search for a new coach in February and hopes to have a coach in place by spring.

“I am proud of what Cale accomplished in just two seasons here and although we’re all going to miss both Cale and Dana, I’m very happy for him that he’s landed this opportunity to continue his coaching career back in his home state at UC-Irvine,” Ross said.

Rodriguez coached at Peninsula for two years, compiling a record of 32-3-6 and winning North Region titles both years. He was named the North Region Coach of the Year for 2016.

Rodriguez said he accepted the position at UC-Irvine because of his “personal ambition to coach at the highest level I can. It’s important to me to learn and develop as a coach.”

He will be on the staff of new coach Yossi Raz, who was the head coach at Cal Poly Pomona. Rodriguez said UC-Irvine had a down year last year, but was in the NCAA Tournament as recently as three years ago.

“We’re pretty excited about turning that program around and into a power in the Big West and in the country,” Rodriguez said.

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