Coach profile: Mark “Rusty” Johnson

Coach profile: Mark Rusty Johnson

Samantha Lopez, Staff Writer

In his first year as head coach of De Anza’s men’s soccer team, Mark “Rusty” Johnson has already racked up quite a few accomplishments.

Between leading the men’s soccer team to an 18-1-1 record, winning De Anza’s first conference championship since 2010 and being named the Coast Conference Coach of the Year, it has been a busy year for Johnson.

After 10 years of being an assistant coach at Santa Clara University, Johnson decided he wanted to coach a team of his own.

He knew and loved the game, and now he wanted a group to transmit his passion for soccer. He came to De Anza as an assistant soccer coach last season, and in only a year took the position of head coach.

During his years playing at Santa Clara University, Johnson played in two College Cups and one National Championship game. His expertise has been recognized throughout the game, giving him a respectful reputation.

“I’m very happy to be playing with the coach, plus he has a good reputation coming from Santa Clara and all, so I trust he knows what he’s doing,” said freshman midfielder Roberto Mendoza.

Not only does Johnson have a good understanding of the game, but he also teaches his players to envision the same. Johnson said telling someone what to do or how to do it is less effective than teaching someone the purpose to why it is done that way.

“He’s a great motivational speaker, always giving us new perspectives on different game scenarios, puts us in game scenarios and makes us see what would happen if we hit the ball one way or the other,” Mendoza said.

Johnson said his philosophy is that you teach a soccer player how to play soccer.

“You must teach them how to attack, and that’s one thing that a lot of teams lack,” Johnson said. “Most often you will see players packed at the goal post, and when they play against a good team who knows how to attack, they don’t know what to do.”

Freshman forward Juan Carlos Bugarin said, “I like that he respects us, treats us like we were his own, always caring.”

Johnson said his docile players and his reliance on assistant coach Roheet Sen are the main reasons for the team’s success this season.

“[Sen] is a great assistant. I feel confident in letting him lead because I know he knows what he’s doing,” Johnson said.

Sen, a former player at De Anza, is in his first year as assistant, and handles running the drills of the players to increase strength
and endurance.

Sophomore forward Bobak Ohadi gave his take on the reason for this year’s success. “We are one big family and that’s what’s helping us win,” he said

The men’s soccer team will look to continue its season in the second round of the NorCal regional playoffs on Tuesday Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. against either City College of San Francisco or Las Positas College.