After a seven-year stretch as assistant coach of the Glendale Community College men's soccer team, Laura Matsumoto is ready to put her personal stamp on the program.
Matsumoto learned plenty pertaining to the sport — on and off the field — while being mentored by Joe Agoston, who stepped down as head coach following a 27-year run with the Vaqueros.
"I'm extremely excited to be able to take the torch from Joe because I've learned so much from him over these last seven or eight years," Matsumoto said. "He's been my mentor and I will continue to ask him questions to help me get better.
"You have to stick to your guns and be able to create a vision for the program."
Matsumoto, 40, will take over a program that's struggled recently. The Vaqueros finished 2-18-1, 1-15 for last place in the nine-team Western State Conference last season. Glendale concluded the season by losing its final 14 matches.
Glendale hasn't recorded a winning season since 2003, when it went 12-5-4. It was also the last time it appeared in the Southern California Regionals. The Vaqueros haven't won a conference championship since 2000.
Matsumoto, who was an assistant for the college's women's soccer team from 2000-04, will look to reverse's the program's fortunes. She's attended numerous high school matches in the area and surrounding communities to find talent that might be suitable to her liking.
"We are trying to get some local talent to come our way," said Matsumoto, who was a starting goalkeeper at Willamette University from 1991-95. "We are here for players to play soccer and get their education and then hopefully move on from there."
Glendale Athletic Director John Cicuto said Matsumoto was an ideal candidate to replace Agoston, who will continue to teach theater and physical education at the college.
"I knew Joe was getting close to retiring and he had said before last season that it might be his last as coach," Cicuto said. "When the season finished, he said he was done.
"With Laura, she really wanted a chance at the position. She was ready to pursue the job and I liked her approach. I watched her help organize the practices and liked her ability to work with the players. She already knows the program and she's got a very good knowledge for the game."