Peering through the fence at Panorama City St Genevieve, all 523 students appear to be applauding, giggling, and having fun as soccer players train female students in a feather-flag soccer game on the school’s 50-yard soccer field. has no gate.
St. Genevieve is one of the most affordable Catholic schools in the San Fernando Valley with an annual tuition of $ 11,975. The student body is 63% Hispanics and 15% Filipinos. Its director, Dan Horn, was one of the first to introduce character training as a component of training 10 years ago. He once sent 13 busses of students to the Hollywood Cup to watch the musical Hairspray to teach students good manners.
So it’s no surprise that one of the reasons the high school soccer team is 9-0 to win the Camino Real League title is loyalty. Each of the 17 senior students on the team has been at Saint Genevieve since the freshmen. This is unusual in this era of transfers, COVID-19 and family reasons to change schools. This is a hint of how rarely this team can be led by Billy Parr’s seventh year.
“They truly love each other and I love what I am doing now compared to my career,” he said.
Parra is a former Granada Hills Kennedy head coach who has also served as an assistant at Encino Crespi, Pierce College, and Los Angeles Valley College.
“This is the second part of my career,” he said. “I didn’t feel that way in the first part. It was about giving people 55 points. It was about the best reception building. It was about throwing a soccer ball. We run football here and this has changed my philosophy a lot. I had to realize that running football almost disappeared with the spread of violations and seven on seven. We returned to the attack on the West Coast. “
Most importantly, he took the opportunity to learn about each of his students. Many come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
“It has to do with spending time with the kids and doing retreats,” he said. “Actually doing something that has nothing to do with X and O. We have great players. We have 17 senior D1 footballers? No, but they all bought it and lead our team. They tell the young people in the locker room, “We don’t do that.” When 4 hours of the meeting is written, we have 4 hours of the meeting. There is no doubt that we are making progress through the leadership of these older people. ”
Parra was helped by the fact that many of the high school students played youth football with his son William Jr. and his nephew Billy Sr. Their parents decided to give Parra the opportunity to train their sons during a change in sports.
“I think if you tell a child that he is secondary, the child will drop out of school,” Parra said. “If you scold a young man, he will drop out of school. If they don’t get their way, it looks like today’s child loves to leave. Play time is everything. This is where we lose something in society. Children sometimes feel, “If I don’t get what I want, I’ll leave here.”
Luckily for the Valiants, the players have gone through good and bad times together. The runaway Camdan McWright averages over 13 yards per carry and has 72 tackles in defense. Billy Parra has 69 tackles. Riley Morris has 12 bags. Rookie Xavier Wright, son of Parra’s childhood friend, transitional student Russell White, has 72 tackles as a junior midfielder.
This is a team that appears once every decade and will try to win the championship in the first year of the new South Section playoff format, which categorizes teams into divisions based on this season’s performance rather than past seasons’ records. In the old format, Saint-Genevieve would have been in the 11th division. The Valiants are now seeded at No. 13 in the 5th Division and will open away against the Chino Hills on Friday night.
“This is the best thing that could happen for me and for the school if you really participate in the program and know that victories and defeats will take care of themselves, but you want to participate in a program that empowers you and teaches diligently. “a sock football that has community coaches with community kids,” Parra said. “… We may not have all the bells and whistles. We don’t even have a goal on the 50-yard pitch, but we’re working very hard to educate young people. “