Sebastian Vecchio had been waiting for this chance for 15 years. He coached under and against what he considers to be some of the best soccer coaches in the country but never had the chance to run his own program — until the opening at Cal State Bakersfield came along.
“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Vecchio said. “I don't take this opportunity lightly.”
Vecchio was named the fifth head coach in CSUB women's soccer history on Feb. 20. He started on the job Monday and will be introduced to the community at an event in the near future, CSUB Athletic Director Kenneth “Ziggy” Siegfried said. Vecchio’s philosophies fit in with CSUB’s “Four Pillars” he and Siegfried said, and he thinks he can turn the Roadrunners into a championship team.
“I’m excited to have my own program and create my own culture,” Vecchio said. “I come from a coach’s family. I always wanted to do this. I’ve been patient enough over the years to make sure that the timing was right and this is the perfect place for me to have that opportunity to be a head coach.”
Vecchio has been around coaching basically since he was born. His uncle, Guillermo, was the head coach of the Argentine national basketball team between 1989 and 1996 and his father was on the staff for a period of time.
Vecchio’s uncle was responsible for scouting and training a lot of the Argentine NBA players like San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili, Vecchio said.
“I’ve been always around coaches and camps and clinics and preseasons and road trips, and on the bench doing stats and helping out in practices right from since I was little,” Vecchio said. “It’s in my DNA and this is what I want to do.”
His start in soccer came at 12 when a few friends dragged him out to a game because they were missing a player. Vecchio realized he had skill and within a few years he was playing for the Under-16 Argentina Men’s National Team. He was the player always analyzing the games and peppering the coaches with questions afterward.
He’s still that way, Vecchio said.
In CSUB, Vecchio saw a school with hard-working, blue-collar people that want the best for the athletes, he said, and a team that won’t be “a complete redo.”
In Vecchio, CSUB saw a coach that places the student-athlete experience first and has significant, successful Division I experience.
“We noticed after a lot of research that every place he had been got better once he got there … and the majority of them were one of the lowest budgets in their conference,” Siegfried said. “It was great to see that he helped build programs and we felt like he could do the same thing here.”
When Vecchio is recruiting, he looks for four main qualities in potential players. First and most important is a defining quality that makes the athlete special and Vecchio can depend on “100 percent of the time.” Vecchio also wants players that are technically and tactically sound. Fourth, Vecchio searches for athletes that will represent the school and community well.
“I call them Sunday’s players,” Vecchio said. “I want to see the player that plays as hard as they play on Friday, on Sunday.”
Vecchio is unsure who, if anyone, will remain from former CSUB head coach Gary Curneen’s staff after the former left to take an assistant coach position with the National Women’s Soccer League’s Chicago Red Stars. Vecchio does have a short list of coaches he’d like to work with, he said.
CSUB’s first spring game is on March 18 and Vecchio thinks the team should strive to be the third or fourth seed in the Western Athletic Conference come the fall season.
“The only thing that needs to happen in our program is we need to have a better culture in our women’s soccer program and I think that’s what was lacking before that we now have with Sebastian coming in,” Siegfried said. “I don’t think it’s gonna take him time to be successful. I think he’s gonna do it immediately.”
CSUB wrestling to send five to NCAAs
Five CSUB wrestlers will get a shot at NCAA titles. The Roadrunners had five wrestlers qualify for the NCAA championships set for March 15-17 in Cleveland, Ohio, marking the third year in a row CSUB will send five wrestlers.
Sergio Mendez (125 pounds) and Matt Williams (197 pounds) earned automatic bids for their performances at the Pac-12 championships. Sean Nickell (133 pounds), Russell Rohlfing (141 pounds) and Coleman Hammond (157 pounds) were added to the mix by earning at-large bids on Tuesday.