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Feb 09

Longtime Morro Bay soccer coach Roger Ludin retires

By Nick Wilson
nwilson@thetribunenews.com

Longtime Morro Bay soccer coach Roger Ludin has coached his last game.

Ludin coached a combined 24 years at Morro Bay – 17 of them as the boys coach and seven of them as a girls coach.

The 68-year-old retired Cal Poly physics and mechanical engineering professor, affectionately known as “Doc” because he has a PhD in physics, coached his last game on Thursday.

Ludin has been through good times and bad in terms of success on the field.

He has coached a boys’ team to a CIF championship in the mid-1990s as a head coach and another team in 1989 as an assistant.

Ludin also has seen difficult seasons like this one (his girls’ team won only two games).

But either way, he has reinforced an attitude of “positivity” and high spirits, and deterred players and fans from lambasting the referees in frustration with perceived bad calls.

Ludin started out as a junior varsity coach at Morro Bay after moving up the ranks to coach the boys varsity.

He took four years off between coaching the boys and girls teams as he worked through a knee surgery and two hip replacements.

Ludin, a former multi-sport athlete and soccer player himself in high school in New York, who was named the coach of his wrestling team as a senior, thought he might be done but asked to come back to coach the girls’ team.

“The kids were just so great to work with,” Ludin said. “That’s what kept me coming back every year.”

Sometimes he’d take teams out to the beach to kick the soccer ball around on the sand. He said the Morro Bay administration was always supportive of him and his ideas.

His goal was to get his players in the best possible condition so they would not only perform to the best of their abilities but avoid injury.

He said it was a touching moment for one of his players – Michelle Cordova — who broke an ankle late in the season to get to start the game against Cabrillo High by kicking the ball off, though she was on crutches.

Then the other team kicked the ball out of bounds as the senior left the field.

“That was a nice moment for her and her family,” Ludin said. “She’s a positive, great kid.”

Ludin said he believes soccer will become more of an influential sport in America as future generations continue to play the game and improve the country’s level in the sport.

Some of his female players have been down to Carson to the Home Depot Center to see the U.S. Women’s National team play.

The exposure to the top level of the sport helps as well to encourage interest in the game as it struggles for the spotlight against more popular sports such as basketball, baseball and football.

Ludin said he still plans to volunteer with some Morro Bay sports, including track and field where he times events, but that over the holidays he made the decision that it was time to slow down.

“I still enjoy coaching,” Ludin said. “But a little voice was telling me it was time and I’ve learned it’s best to listen to that voice.”

Ludin said he still plans to volunteer with some Morro Bay sports, including track and field where he times events, but that over the holidays he made the decision that it was time to slow down.
“I still enjoy coaching,” Ludin said. “But a little voice was telling me it was time and I’ve learned it’s best to listen to that voice.”

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