In nine seasons, Robert Garza led the Mount Vernon boys’ soccer program to three National District championship game appearances, two district titles and a top-20 ranking in the ESPN.com national poll. The Majors reached the regional quarterfinals each of the last three years and proved capable of competing with best in the area.
Garza left his fingerprints on the Mount Vernon program. Now the 39-year-old coach is moving on to a new challenge.
Garza on July 2 was named head coach of the Robinson boys’ soccer team, replacing Jac Cicala, who retired at season’s end. The Rams captured the 2012 Northern Region championship before losing to Thomas Dale, 1-0, in the state quarterfinals. Robinson finished state runner-up in 2008, 2000 and 1987.
"It feels good, to be honest," Garza said of taking over at Robinson. "I don’t know if bittersweet is the right thing to say. Being at Mount Vernon for nine years, I hate to leave that program … but this is an opportunity for me to take [the next step in] my coaching career."
Garza’s Mount Vernon teams faced Robinson four times in the last three seasons, including three postseason matchups. In 2010, Robinson defeated Mount Vernon in the regional quarterfinals. In 2011, the Majors beat the Rams in the opening round of the regional tournament. In 2012, Mount Vernon won the teams’ regular season meeting, but Robinson responded with a victory via penalty-kick shootout in the regional quarterfinals.
"I don’t know if bittersweet is the right thing to say. Being at Mount Vernon for nine years, I hate to leave that program … but this is an opportunity for me to take [the next step in] my coaching career."
— Robinson boys’ soccer coach Robert Garza
"I’m looking forward to taking my style over there," Garza said, referring to Mount Vernon’s use of speed, agility and forward-moving possession. "I’m looking forward to the next challenge. [Robinson is] in the toughest district (Concorde) in the state of Virginia. I’m looking forward to the challenge and the next step and bettering myself as a coach."
Garza graduated from Hayfield in 1991 and played soccer collegiately at Liberty University and Marymount University. He’s a history teacher at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, D.C.