When Camas boys soccer coach Dan Macaya knew he’d miss this 2021 season to go on a parental leave, he first turned to a familiar face to take over running the Papermakers — his former coach Roland Minder.
It seemed like a logical choice given that Minder had 24 years of experience coaching Camas teams before retiring in 2018.
But when a health issue forced Minder to withdraw from consideration, Macaya went from his old coach to his old friend.
Richard Gooch and Josh Stoller are serving as interim co-coaches of the Camas boys team this spring. And the senior-heavy Papermakers haven’t missed a beat.
A 1-0 victory over Mountain View on Monday improved Camas to 5-0 on the season.
“It’s been a great experience,” Gooch said. “Josh and I have clicked from Day One I feel. We complement one another.”
Gooch said he got the call to coach the Camas boys in April, a couple weeks before the season. The team roster lists Gooch as the interim head coach, and Stoller as his assistant. But Gooch thinks of it as a team effort.
“I’ve known Dan for many years, and we’ve built a great relationship over time,” Gooch said. “So when Dan went on leave because he was expecting a new one, he reached to me and he thought it would be a great fit for Josh and I to work together while he was on leave. I really see us as co-coaches.”
Gooch coached the Camas girls junior varsity team earlier this spring. Stoller, a 2015 Camas High graduate, coached the Papermaker boys JV team under Macaya.
Stoller said constant communication with Gooch has been the basis of their success.
“We’re constantly tossing out ideas, talking about strategy, how we see the game progressing,” Stoller said. “It allows us to try different things out, move people around, that type of deal. And it’s been great. What I lack, Richard makes up for it, and I think vice-versa. And it allows us to focus on different parts of the game, different task. That gives us a more rounded approach to the game.”
It also helps to have a talented team with nine seniors and eight juniors.
“We have studs for a bunch,” Gooch said. “They are technically gifted, tactically understand the game. Just a dynamic group. A lot of fun, a lot of energy. We have a ton of upperclassmen.”
The Papermakers are led by seniors Ethan Jud, Eli McMillan, Noah Frazier, Wilson Fresh and Mark Robinson.
“That bunch of seniors we have … they are all great athletes, but great students and people as well,” Stoller said. “They’re all leaders. And they really guide the whole team and whole program in the right direction.”
That direction has led to the top of the 4A/3A Greater St. Helens League standings. The Papermakers have solidified that spot after wins over Union and Mountain View in the past week.
“I think the boys just continue to grow,” Stoller said. “There are a lot of seniors, and they’ve played together for a long time. But I think every day we spend more time together, it’s just more and more fun to watch. The different patterns, just them learning each other. It makes for a really great soccer match when these guys start clicking.”
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.