Soccer team kickin’ it together
By Hollen Wheeler; courtesy photos
The boys varsity soccer team at Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) had an outstanding season and a coach who inspired success both on and off of the field.
A 30-year veteran of coaching and teaching, Coach Aaron Carpenter (known to all as “Coach Carp”) finished the 2021 season 14-3-1. The Jags won the conference championship and then made it to the “Elite 8” for the first time in six years, playing the best schools in all of Colorado. Tragically, the team lost in overtime (2-1) to Fossil Ridge High School.
“We had an incredible and talented team this past season,” stated Carpenter. “Watching this team play such a dynamic and cohesive style of soccer was a treat to all of us,” he continued. “In my mind, we were the best team in the state of Colorado.”
The players and parents were also pleased with the season and especially the coach, who also teaches sports psychology and outdoor classes.
“He’s a very dedicated coach,” said sophomore Jack Anderson, who enjoys playing every position. “He’s probably the first coach I’ve ever had who cares as much as he does about the team and cares about the game of soccer itself,” he added.
Carpenter believes in community service and building strength of character in his players. The team made more than 1,000 lunches to feed the homeless this year and collectively had a cumulative 3.6 GPA. Carpenter scheduled many team building events which included weekend trips – Chicago, tubing at Clear Creek in Golden, hiking 14ers, and going to an amusement park, to name a few.
Jennifer Anderson, Jack’s mom, said that she likes the values the coach instills in the boys. “I like the way Coach Carp wants to develop the boys to be outstanding individuals,” she said. “At homecoming, he told them to treat the ladies nicely and be respectful.”
Carpenter played Division 1 soccer at the University of Illinois at Chicago and then immediately began his coaching career at college and high school levels.
In his six years at RCHS, Carpenter has achieved six conference championships for the junior varsity teams as well as three varsity championship wins.
“Coach Carp has made a great program and has done such an amazing job that people want to come to RCHS to play soccer and it’s a great thing to be a part of,” added Jack.
“The Rock Canyon community has been amazing throughout my tenure,” stated Carpenter. “Starting with the support of our administration to the involvement of our parents, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.”