The circus could use guys like Chris Gould, who knows how to juggle with the best of them. But Gould doesn't juggle flaming sticks, or knives, or anything like that — it only seems that way.
Gould juggles his time, a challenge for anybody in this day and age, but particularly for a soccer coach who coaches two college teams — at the same time.
Gould, 30, is Concordia University's "director of soccer," which means he heads both the men's and women's teams for the school. Practice times and game times between the two teams are constantly at war with each other, but Gould is making it work.
Going into the weekend, the men's and women's teams were a combined 6-1, the women at 4-0 and the men 2-1.
"It's tough," Gould admitted. "Making this a one-person job is not very realistic. It comes down to having a good coaching staff, guys you depend on and rely on. The guys we have here are awesome."
Cheyne Gordon and Mike Oseguera are Gould's assistant coaches for both teams.
Gould did say that more and more schools are going to the one-coach model, which helps with scheduling. Teams can line up games with opposing schools on back-to-back days, one day the men playing and the other day the women playing.
Gould and his assistants are in their third season coaching both teams, and they have been able to make it work — each team has had a winning record each season. The women were 8-4-5 in 2009 and 11-6-3 in 2010. The men were 9-7-2 in both seasons.
The women are off to a fast start this season, going 4-0 in their first four games, outscoring their opponents 16-2. And that's a big deal considering how they finished last season.
The women lost their top three scorers from last season in Sasha Hudson, Hayley Partridge and Alyssa McDonald. They did have three returning All-Golden State Athletic Conference defenders in Audrey McKay, Kyleen Button and Tamara Chagas, so the off-season goal for Gould, Gordon and Oseguera was obvious.
"We said at the end of last year we had to recruit attacking players," Gould said. "Last year defense was our core and the strength of our team. We knew we'd have our whole back, six players, back again. We focused on getting good attack players."
Gould brought in Bri Lopez from Santiago Canyon College, and Arianna Vaughn from South Hills High in West Covina.
"They've done a great job fitting in," said Gould, who added that he's received some unexpected offense from returning players Jacqueline Turner, who redshirted last year, and Loren Kortizija.
"She just hit a good run," Gould said of Kortizija. "She's got four or five goals that have come out of nowhere."
With the men's team, Gould said it's been a matter of starting almost from scratch. William Velasquez was the team's leading scorer last season but is academically ineligible this season. The Eagles, though, do return all-GSAC defender Armando Padilla.
"The challenge this year was to build a team," Gould said. "Start with establishing roles of players, the function of each role and how it fits into the bigger group. Then you get them to buy into the message of the program, the vision of the program."
Gould is hoping that he and his coaches can use their previous two years of experience as the building blocks for this year and beyond.
"The first year was tough because we were talented (and finished just 9-7-2)," Gould said. "It was a learning process for all involved. The entire coaching staff, none of us were over 28 years old.
"Last year we had players who had not had the opportunity to play big roles in the past," Gould said. "We had a strong team but it was less talented. This year we're confident we can merge the two into a successful season."
Some of the Eagles' top newcomers include Christian Ramirez (UC Santa Barbara), Edgar Orozco (Golden West College), William Prado (Long Beach City) and Jose Tamayo (Southern Illinois).
"All these guys are capable of scoring," Gould said. "We have completely reloaded."
Gould himself is only a few years removed from his playing days, having played two years at Concordia alongside his assistant coach Gordon. Gould was a part of the 2005 team that won the program's first GSAC title.
"It gives us a lot of motivation to do the best we can," Gould said. "We're vested in everything, the mission of the university, and a nationally competitive soccer program on both sides (men and women). We're working incredibly hard to put a good team out there that reflects well on the university."