Sporting San Diego coach Justin Picou understands the grind of trying to make it in professional soccer. Coach Picou just finished up the season for Temecula FC in the semi-professional National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), his eighth season in the league. Splitting time between centerback and striker, he had two goals on the season including an incredible 30-yard volley against rivals Riverside Coras FC. Although the club suffered a disappointing season, Coach Picou thinks the club has a bright future, and he looks forward to next season while also beginning his coaching career with Sporting.
Coach Picou was a three-year varsity player for Helix High before playing for San Diego City College and San Diego Christian College. After college he choose to pursue a professional soccer player, trying out for a number of USL teams while still playing in the NPSL, where he had played since of age of 18.
In Coach Picou's view, the NPSL is a high-quality league filled with ex-professionals and great college athletes. At one time, there were four teams in the greater San Diego area, fostering great rivalries between the clubs, which makes the games more fun and intense. Now, after 8 years in the league, Coach Picou acknowledges that his dream to play professional soccer at a high level has come to an end, but he still enjoys playing the game at the highest level he can, and will continue to play the game that he loves.
Coaching never felt like an option for Coach Picou, as he worried about focusing on anything but his playing career. But after a chance 2017 meeting with Director of Coaching Joaquin Huertado, Coach Picou decided to pursue his coaching license and join a group of coaches he knew from his days playing at Helix High. Beginning in early 2018, Coach Picou took control of two teams: 2004 and 2005 Boys. Now, he's excited to work with the players and funnel his knowledge and playing experience into his coaching.
In his first season as a coach, Picou hopes to instill into his players a love and respect for the game and to see them play the game with passion and heart. "No matter the age or level, soccer is supposed to be fun," he says. Still, Coach Picou expects both of his teams to compete hard and have success on the field. It's his hope that his own journey in soccer will help both him and his players this season.