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Atlantic Cape Men’s Soccer Head Coach Luis Paz Proud to Give Back to His Alma Mater

10/26/2023 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Head Coach Luis Paz speaks with his Men's Soccer players during halftime

MAYS LANDING— Life has a way of coming full circle when we are least expecting it. For Atlantic Cape Community College Men’s Soccer Head Coach Luis Giovanni Paz, he is a living embodiment of this cyclical dynamic.

After graduating from Oakcrest High School in the summer of 2009, Paz began taking classes at Atlantic Cape that fall as a General Studies major while also juggling a job and a spot on the men’s soccer team. From 2009 to 2011, he competed for the Buccaneers as the team’s goalkeeper and served as team captain during the 2010-11 season. Paz also earned back-to-back Leadership Awards while at Atlantic Cape and served as the team’s assistant coach in 2011-12 following his graduation.

Atlantic Cape Men's Soccer Head Coach Luis Paz“My experience at Atlantic Cape overall was an eye-opening experience for me with balancing work, school and learning how to become an independent adult,” said Paz, who credited his athletic advisor Doug Mills, who coincidentally is now Paz’s assistant coach, with helping him balance his school/work/soccer responsibilities. “Atlantic Cape always had the tools that allowed me to succeed.”

Following a period of dormancy, the Men’s Soccer program was rekindled in 2022 and Paz embraced the opportunity as its new head coach to return the sport to its former glory at his alma mater.

“I strongly believed that I could accomplish the task of bringing the program back to life knowing that I was on one of the last teams and I was able to take advantage of what Atlantic Cape and the soccer program did for me,” Paz said.

The rebirth of the team in 2022 was a rebuilding year for Paz and the student athletes on the roster.

“My first season we were able to gather the players, but unfortunately because of injuries we were unable to finish the season,” Paz said. “This only motivated me to work harder for the next season.”

Atlantic Cape Buccaneers against Bergen County CollegeIn 2023, Paz’s team continued to build a good foundation for the future as the program strives for incremental growth year-after-year. The student athletes stayed healthy and completed the entire slate of scheduled games. Though they finished with a 1-10-2 record, the Buccaneer Men’s Soccer team built upon small triumphs like its 5-0 victory over Salem Community College, experience and camaraderie. The team also played its first home game on Atlantic Cape’s Mays Landing campus since 2012 on October 5 against Bergen County College.

Paz senses the potential for the program moving forward.

“There is a lot of talent here in South Jersey. With our campuses in Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May there is an untapped pool of talent,” Paz said. “My goal for the program is to become a powerhouse in our Region 19 bracket.”

“The players I had this year understand that we are all here trying to put Atlantic Cape Men’s Soccer on the map. I am a very transparent person and I like to tell my players what our goal is for each season. Our players want to be here and they understand that there are levels to achieving success,” Paz continued.

Atlantic Cape Buccaneers playing against Bergen County CollegePaz is working hard to keep the positive momentum moving forward by fostering relationships with many local high school Men’s Soccer coaches in an attempt to create a feeder program of high school student athletes.

His experience as a former player, assistant coach and now as head coach, along with being a husband and father of three young girls, keeps him grounded and humble in his approach to teaching the game to his players.

“My coaching technique is simple: keep the game simple and the game will be simple to you. Not only is my goal to help build better players, but it is to build better people, who respect the game, their opponent and themselves. 

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About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape is a comprehensive two-year community college serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The college offers over 40 career, transfer and workforce development programs to more than 8,000 students annually at three campuses in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Cape May Court House and Mays Landing.