PORT ANGELES — For the second time, Peninsula College men’s soccer coach Jake Hughes has been named the NWAC soccer coach of the year.
The Pirates won the NWAC championship earlier this month in a 12-11 penalty kick shootout over Highline. The Peninsula men also won the NWAC championship in 2019. Hughes was named the NWAC coach of the year that season, as well.
Hughes said he doesn’t see this as an individual honor.
“Rather than a personal award, I think it’s more an award for the coaching staff,” he said. He added that assistant coaches Juan Carlos and Andrew Cooper deserve credit, as does women’s coach Kanyon Anderson, who also assisted with the men’s team.
“They were all influential in our season,” he said.
Hughes said this season did provide some unique challenges. One was the Pirates only had a roster of 25 because of housing availability.
“I think what was initially a challenge became our strength. We went on to have a tight group that came together to take on the challenge,” he said.
What didn’t help was a couple of season-ending injuries to Pau Vivas and Jem Ndja. Vivas was one of the team’s leading scorers from last year while Hughes said Ndja was an important leader on the team.
Another challenge this year is that the North Region was especially tough. The Pirates took a couple of early-season losses and found themselves in fourth place, out of a playoff slot, about midway through the season. Peninsula went 5-1-1 down the stretch to not only make the postseason but to win the ultra-competitive North.