Pat Rohla was quick to deflect credit.
Rohla was named the Canada West men’s soccer coach of the year on Friday morning.
And while it is an honour to receive the accolade, Rohla pointed out that it was in fact a team award.
“I think it comes down to two things,” he said on the phone from Edmonton, following the Spartans men’s soccer team’s 3-2 (9-8 in penalty kicks) victory in the Canada West quarter-finals over the Calgary Dinos.
“The coaching staff is unbelievable,” he said, referring to assistants Mike Shearon, Troye Flannery and Paul Ballard.
“The other piece of it is you can’t be a coach if you don’t have players who are coachable.
“And these guys laid it out this year.”
“Coach of the year is only a reflection of the guys you have, that are willing to go out and fight and be coached” he said.
“And the people that you have beside you that you trust and respect and enjoy being around.”
With Rohla at the helm, the Spartans finished with a 9-1-4 regular season record and a second-place finish in the Pacific Division.
Rohla took over as the team’s coach in 2009, but missed the playoffs in his first year.
But this was the first year in which Rohla himself had recruited and built the bulk of the team’s starting line-up.
The team, which had two rookies on the back-line and a goalkeeper in his first season as starter, allowed just 12 goals in 14 games and only lost once.
“What a great honour for Pat, to be selected by his peers for this prestigious award” said Trinity Western athletic director Murray Hall.
“Pat is a humble person, going about his work with a blue-collar approach, getting the job done, day in and day out.”
Rohla, a long-time Langley resident, has also coached both at the high school level — with Langley Secondary — and with the Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team.
He retired from teaching at LSS following last year.
Trinity Western also had three players named to the Canada West all-star teams.
Midfielder Brayden Gant was chosen for the first team while fullback Brayden Volkenant and striker Jarvis Ambaka were chosen second team all-stars.