Rafe Mauran is coming home.
After making coaching stops at five different southern colleges, Mauran, a Conyers native, was recently named the new Director of Coaching at the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association (RYSA).
And that's not even the best news he's gotten in 2009. Mauran and his wife, Jenni, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Sophie, on April 29. It was quite a month for Mauran.
"This job came open at the end of July, 2008. They didn't want to make a rash decision, take their time," said Mauran, who played soccer at Woodward Academy in College Park before matriculating to the University of the South to play and eventually get his first coaching job.
"It's been a long process, I've probably been on the phone with the president about a hundred times. It's been tough over the last few weeks or so. My wife was 39 weeks pregnant (when he accepted the jbo at RYSA). I'm kind of in charge of all the soccer-related stuff. There's a board of directors, but I'm really the only full-time guy."
"Full-time" is a good way to describe Mauran's life in soccer. After his stint at the University of the South in Suwanee, Tenn., he attended Springfield (Mass.) College and received his master's degree. Then came stops at Davidson College (N.C.) and Wofford College (S.C.) before coaching at Limestone College (S.C.) last year.
One of the biggest moments of Mauran's life came just before he went to Wofford.
"The best piece of advice I ever got career-wise was from (Wake Forest men's soccer coach) Jay Voinovich," Mauran recalled. "I was trying to decide whether I should go to Wofford. ... (Voinovich said) 'you need to go where you'll feel like you'll have the most impact on people.' It's one of the reasons I'd like to be at RYSA. I thought it was ... a challenge. I feel like I can have a bigger impact on a larger number of people."
Mauran also hopes that his involvement in the club soccer scene, which includes players from age 3 to age 19, will have a new impact on the Rockdale County high school soccer teams. The new RYSA director said the Rockdale County schools were all tough places to play when he lived in the area in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Mauran is hoping to strengthen the club-high school partnership, and in turn strengthen the area in general, through his new role.
"When I was in high school, late '80s, early '90s, Conyers was a soccer hot bed," Mauran said. "And I'd like to, along with the local high schools, (have Conyers be) known for that around the state again. People were scared to come here because they were just that good, and I think the club had a big part to play in that and I'd like to re-establish that."
Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.