Pittsfield High Names Ramos Girls Soccer Coach
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Pittsfield High School and the Pittsfield Public Schools Athletic Department have announced the appointment of Juan Ramos as the new head varsity coach of the PHS girls soccer program.
Ramos, a Berkshire County resident, brings experience as a coach and educator to the Generals soccer program. Most recently, Ramos served as the head coach for the St. Joseph boys soccer program in 2015-16. Prior to moving to the Berkshires, Ramos had more than 25 years of coaching success, leading both boys and girls teams, in both the public school and private school sectors, to winning seasons.
Ramos takes over the PHS program in the footsteps of long-time head coach Andy Waluszko. Waluszko led the Generals to four Berkshire County North Division titles, and two Western Mass. Division I Championship game appearances in his 10-year tenure, stepping down this past winter. Ramos, in his role as the program’s new head coach, is building a coaching staff with the hopes of continuing that winning tradition.
Pittsfield High grad and former multi-sport athlete, Hilary Smith, will serve as the program’s top varsity assistant coach under Ramos. Smith, currently a 7th grade social studies teacher in the district, was a member of the soccer, basketball and softball teams as a student at Pittsfield High. Upon graduating from PHS, she continued her academic career at UMass-Amherst, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Smith began her teaching career at Springfield Central High School, before moving back to the Berkshires, where she’s been a local teacher and coach within the Pittsfield Public Schools since 2012. In addition to serving as an assistant soccer coach at Taconic in the past, Smith most recently served in an assistant coaching role for the PHS softball team, helping lead the squad to the 2018 Western Massachusetts Championship last month.
“We are excited to continue to build on success that the PHS girls soccer program has experienced in recent years,” Pittsfield Public Schools Athletic Director Jim Abel said. “Coach Ramos brings a wealth of knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm for the game of soccer that is contagious. Coach Ramos and Coach Smith make a perfect fit for what we’re trying to accomplish here. They have quickly built up a great rapport with our returning players, and they have a deep appreciation for the balances that are required of student-athletes.”
Ramos and Smith met with PHS’s returning and prospective players last month – providing the athletes an indication of what they can expect of the coaching staff, and what the coaching staff expects of them, heading into the 2018 season.
"The expectations are fairly simple,” Ramos said. "We're going to have fun, compete aggressively, and represent our school with pride on the field, in the classroom, and in our community. Winning is a by-product of a culture in which all the players value these goals, support each other, and enjoy the experience of being a high school athlete."
Ramos began his career serving in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years. While in the Air Force, he obtained his master’s degree from the University of Florida. His talents as an educator, coach, and mentor led him to Albuquerque, N.M., – where he served as a math teacher, soccer coach, and basketball coach at Sandia Prep. Serving as the boys varsity soccer coach at Sandia Prep from 1982-97, Ramos led the Sun Devils to six New Mexico Boys Soccer State Championships. For his outstanding contributions as a coach and teacher, Ramos was elected to the Sun Devils Hall of Fame in 2017.
Ramos relocated to Massachusetts in the late 1990s, when he continued his teaching and coaching career. In 1999, he helped turn around the Cohasset High School Boys Soccer program – leading the program to their first winning record in a decade. He then devoted 17 years as a beloved math teacher and coach at Milton Academy, where he served as the school’s boys soccer coach from 2000-10, and the school’s girls soccer coach from 2011-15.
A student of the game, and member of the U.S. Soccer Coaches Association, Ramos also has served as both a boys and girls coach in the Olympic Development program. The game of soccer, and his role as an educator, have led him to experiences and opportunities throughout North America, South America, and Europe – where he’s not only mentored young people, but has also increased his own personal understanding of the nuances of teaching the game.
Known for the energy, love, and caring that he puts into so many aspects of his life, Ramos and his wife retired to the Berkshires in 2015 to be closer to family. In his “retirement”, Ramos quickly became connected to the local soccer scene – resulting in a stint coaching as the St. Joseph, and now set to lead the Pittsfield High Generals girls program. In addition to serving as the new leader of the PHS program, Ramos hopes to mentor his assistant coach, Hilary Smith, with the goal of Smith eventually taking the reins as a head coach in the future.
The PHS soccer season kicks-off with tryouts beginning on Aug. 24, with the team set to open up their regular season at Lenox shortly after Labor Day.