For more than a decade, Reggie Rivas has spent countless hours on local fields preparing players for the rigors of collegiate soccer.
Many of his pupils achieved success at the club and high school level under his watch. Now, Rivas is ready to begin instruction at the next level.
"I just love coaching soccer and making the players that much better," said Rivas, a former Crescenta Valley High girls' soccer coach who was named head coach of the Pasadena City College women's soccer program June 24. "It's something I've done for a long time and this will be a challenge that will be fun at PCC.
"I get to work for a great program and the administration is wonderful. It's a perfect fit. We are looking to have success in conference and the playoffs. We want to further build the program's tradition."
Rivas, 38, spent the last two seasons as the Lancers' associate coach under coach Randy Lilavois, who left after last season to move with his family to Huntsville, Ala. Pasadena qualified for the Southern California Regionals last season for the first time since 2007 after finishing second in the ultra-competitive South Coast Conference.
Rivas, who founded the budding Crescenta Valley Soccer Club in 2001 and still oversees it, will be the program's third coach. The Lancers finished 12-5-5 and 8-4-2 in conference. They suffered a 2-1 loss to Santa Monica City College in a play-in postseason match at Occidental College.
Lilavois, who coached the Crescenta Valley High boys' soccer team from 2005-07, entertained the thought of returning to Southern California to coach the Lancers this season, but opted not to. Lilavois, who went 27-21-15 with the Lancers, also had spent the past several seasons coaching the South Pasadena High girls' squad. He left South Pasadena just before Christmas for Alabama. He's now coaching the Grissom High girls' soccer team in Huntsville, having led it to a playoff appearance in the spring.
Lilavois said he met in person with Pasadena officials in June, informing them he would not be returning.
"I talked to them and told them it would be hard to be away from my wife and two children for six months," Lilavois said. "I'm happy being here [in Alabama] with my family.
"I'm very happy with Reggie being named the new coach. When I became coach there, it was a natural choice to bring Reggie in as an associate coach. I think he's the perfect choice to be the head coach at PCC. He will pick up where we left off and do a great job."
Rivas said he's prepared to take over the coaching responsibilities and guide the Lancers to additional success.
"I've known Randy for a very long time and I wish him nothing but the best in Alabama," said Rivas, who went 89-24-17 at Crescenta Valley in two separate stints and led the Falcons to an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division II championship match in 2002. "He's begun a new chapter in his life and he did a great job here.
"The bar is set here. It's going to be a fun challenge. We have a lot of returners back and we've brought in some new players who we think can help us get to the next level."
Rivas wasted little time bringing in help, naming Grant Clark as his associate coach. Clark led Crescenta Valley's boys' soccer team to a CIF Southern Section Division V championship in 2012 before being named All-Area Boys' Soccer Coach of the Year.
Clark will continue to coach at Crescenta Valley. Pasadena's season runs in the fall. Crescenta Valley competes in the winter.
"He's another excellent coach who can help me out," Rivas said. "He knows how to establish a winning tradition.
"Any time you can bring in another Falcon, it's even better."
Clark said he'll take advantage of the opportunity learning from Rivas.
"I was introduced to Reggie a few years ago," Clark said. "I've always been open to asking him questions about the game and coaching.
"He's got connections to different areas of soccer. He's got instant credibility. I think having him as a coach at PCC is a great move for the college and program."