Blue Waves Soccer welcomes new coach Armando Leyva


Courtesy of Armando Leyva

Armando Leyva is the new Blue Waves Soccer Coach for the 2020-2021 season.

Kate McElhinney, News Editor

With the graduation of the Class of 2020 and the start of a new school year comes a new group of junior soccer players, along with a new coach, Armando Leyva.

Leyva grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, and he moved to Millport AL in 2009 as part of a business expansion. He and his wife Samantha later moved to Columbus with their four children in search of a larger community. Leyva started coaching soccer when his children were young, and he eventually went on to get a coaching license. He has the advantage of coaching experience to help him lead MSMS to a successful season.

“I jumped into coaching a few years back while my kids were learning to play, and I just kept going forward. Since I started working with younger players, I found [it] gratifying to see them figure out a way to succeed on the field” Leyva said. “I believe soccer is by far the best sport-game-show there is, and I love to pass it along to everyone I can. I guess that is what made me apply when I saw the open position.”

Leyva was unable to attend the Waves Soccer interest meeting, so he hasn’t met the potential players yet, but he submitted a pre-recorded introduction. After watching the video, junior Raeed Kabir looks forward to working with him.

“From what I saw on the introduction video, he looks like he is very driven. He seems like he has great values, and he’s a family man, so he’s got to be the best dude. I’m excited to get to work with him this year,” Kabir said.

Although athletics are a valued part of MSMS life, Leyva understands the importance of academic life, and he hopes to keep a strong balance between school and sports.

“I know MSMS has a very solid academic program and all students are subject to high standards. As a co-curricular program, athletics need to support the overall development of participants,” Leyva said. “We will enjoy our time on the field and at the same time will learn important personal skills.”

The upcoming soccer season will be abnormal, due to COVID-19 restrictions, but Leyva possesses optimism and hopes that the team will still prosper.

“I think we will have a fun and challenging season regardless of the obvious limitations set by the COVID-19 restrictions,” Leyva said. “We will work directly with the group on site and I am sure the remote portion of the team will stay on top of their individual routines. We will set a communication channel to have a connected team ready to compete. A lot of unknowns and ‘never before’ situations, but we are all getting used to that, aren’t we?”

After the departure of previous Blue Waves coach, Tim Wood, the seniors must adjust to a new coach again. Senior Jesse Tran feels optimistic for the season, and he believes that Leyvas’ experience in coaching will lead to a prosperous season for Waves soccer.

“Personally, I felt that the new coach looks very promising. While we have not interacted with him yet, his noted previous experience as well as how he presented himself shows me that he will bring to MSMS the considerable push that we needed from a soccer coach such as Coach Timothy Woods to become better known in our soccer department,” Tran said. “He is a family man, so his compassion, support and commitment will likely translate well into making us better soccer players and students.”