SEATTLE, WA— Seattle Stars FC, 2017 Champions of the Evergreen Premier League, are excited to announce that Seattle University Hall of Famer and former Seattle Sounder Santamaria Rivera has been hired as the Head Coach of the Men’s team. Rivera’s first function as new Stars gaffer will be to oversee the club’s open tryouts being held on Sunday March 11 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
One word: Opportunity
Santamaria (he tells us that’s how his Grandfather wrote his name – all one word – which is also how it appears on his birth certificate) has known former Stars Head Coach Omar Lara for a while now. “I’ve had a long-standing relationship with Omar Lara for over a decade, extending all the way back to my days as a student athlete at Seattle University. He was one of my biggest supporters and mentors during my time as a player. When he recently approached me with the proposition of taking Seattle Stars FC to the next echelon of soccer, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with such a great and inspiring role model. Which in turn, is exactly the end goal: to provide a competitive and stimulating environment, thus allowing the top young prospects in the great city of Seattle to develop into the professional players of tomorrow.”
Championship-winning coach champions his successor
He won the league with the Stars in 2017 but Lara is more than happy to bring in Rivera to take over. “In this moment in time, after winning the championship and transitioning our club to the next level, we knew that it was necessary to bring new and fresh talent to our organization,” Omar says. Lara remains with the Stars. He will focus on the club as whole while Rivera runs the men. “Taking on a new role in the club I was protective about finding someone to fulfill our ambitious goals and expectations. I knew immediately that Santamaria would be the perfect person to take on the challenge and infuse passion and energy. I have known Santa for many years, I’ve watched him progress as a player and as coach, seen his competitiveness to win and his desire to grow and develop young talent. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and I’m honored to have someone of his caliber join our club.”
A soccer life with many stories
Rivera is well-known in Seattle soccer for his years with the Seattle University Redhawks, time spent with the Seattle Sounders in their United Soccer League years, and also for being a spokesperson for Golazo Energy Sports Drink. It was while with Golazo that Rivera was featured in a short film (watch it here, see the trailer above) about his life. He’s currently a youth coach at Greater Seattle Surf. His Seattle U tenure included winning the 2004 National Title. He was inducted into the SU Hall of Fame in 2010. He’s also an accomplished DJ and aspiring music producer.
Getting right to work
Santamaria won’t have long to wait to start his new duties. On Sunday at 4 PM he’ll overlook the scene as players tryout to make the 2018 Seattle Stars FC roster. The Stars open defense of their 2017 Championship with an away contest May 12 in Kitsap County against the Olympic Force. The Stars turn around the next day for a Sunday match at Oly Town FC. Seattle’s home opener comes on Saturday May 19 when the Stars host Vancouver Victory, who won the league in 2016.