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Jan. 24, 2022

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Peter Pickett leaves Clark College women’s soccer team

Penguins won five straight conference titles in Pickett's tenure as assistant, head coach

By , Columbian staff writer

After five seasons with Clark College women’s soccer, including the last two as head coach, Peter Pickett is stepping down from the program.

Pickett informed his players and the Clark College athletic department of his decision three weeks after the Penguins’ season ended Nov. 14 with a second-place finish in the Northwest Athletic Conference championship game against Peninsula College.

Several factors went into the decision, he said. Above all else, stepping away will allow him to spend more time with his wife and two daughters, while no longer having to juggle leading a junior college soccer program with his teaching job at The Gardner School of Arts & Sciences.

“For me, we could go out there and have a really good soccer team on Saturdays,” Pickett said, “but if I came home, and while I’m tired and exhausted from the day, my kids, they’re still looking at me like, ‘What are we going to do today?’ Sometimes all my energy is being dedicated to these other ventures.

“The opportunity cost was huge for me and for family. While I would’ve loved to stay at Clark, I think the combination of teaching, the school I’m at and my family growing up, I certainly want to be part of that.”

Starting in 2016, Pickett worked as an assistant under two different head coaches at Clark, Sean Janson and Jeff Castagnola, before he was named the Penguins’ head coach in February 2020.

Less than two months later, NWAC sports were shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clark didn’t return to competition until the fall 2021 season.

By then, the Penguins had just one returning player, Kiara “Kiki” Kallie, with the rest either being true freshmen or second-year players who didn’t get to play a season in 2020.

Yet Clark didn’t miss a beat when it returned to competition. The Penguins went undefeated in the regular season to earn their fifth straight NWAC South Region title and won two playoff games before losing 1-0 to Peninsula in the championship.

“There were these little moments all the time, and not necessarily soccer related,” Pickett said. “Sometimes it was things we discovered when we would hang out in the van rides together, the bus rides together. I’ll remember those moments a lot.”

“The swings of community college soccer, they’re very extreme,” Pickett continued “You’re starting, it’s super intense, super (connected) and then all of a sudden your season is over and half of the team is gone. That’s hard, but in the end, it does make it a bit more meaningful because you know you’re not going to have another moment like this year in two years, three years. You just got to live every moment for what you can.”

Pickett also plans to continue coaching club soccer with the Washington Timbers.

“I don’t really know what the future holds and I hope soccer is part of that,” Pickett said. “I’m certainly thankful for my time at Clark. I wouldn’t give that back for anything.”

Clark College posted the job announcement on its website and social media platforms Dec. 10. The part-time position has an annual salary of $10,500.

In addition to the women’s soccer team, Clark is looking for a head coach to lead the Penguins’ cross country and track and field programs. Previous head coach Robert Williams had been on staff since 2013.