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Gallegos set to take over Crater program

Chris Gallegos is looking to instill a little Phoenix fire in the Crater High boys soccer program.

A 1990 Phoenix graduate and assistant under Dennis Flenner with the Pirate boys for seven years, Gallegos has been named the Comets' new head coach.

Gallegos replaces Larry Holm, who retired after six seasons in charge.

"At first, I wasn't sure I wanted to leave Phoenix," says Gallegos, a first-grade teacher at Washington Elementary in the Medford School District. "I've been there for so long. I've been a part of every trophy and conference championship we've got.

"But I couldn't pass up the chance to be a head coach - especially an opportunity to coach in the Southern Oregon Conference."

Gallegos takes over a program that has posted back-to-back 2-5 records in SOC action. Crater tied for fifth place in the conference and went 6-7 overall last season.

"They haven't had a lot of success," Gallegos says of the Comets, who haven't won an SOC title since at least 1983. "My plan is to build an offensive-minded machine out there.

"First and foremost is to get these guys in the playoffs. Getting to the playoffs generates excitement, and that trickles down to kids in junior high and elementary school."

In building his program, Gallegos plans to mimic Flenner's system at Phoenix and not hesitate to seek advice from the Pirates' head coach, who directed his team to the District 6 championship, a No. — ranking and the Class 3A/2A/1A state quarterfinals last fall.

"Dennis has been my guide and will be my guide," says Gallegos, who is currently assisting Dave Kaufman with the Rogue Valley Soccer Club's U-18 Mutiny. "We'll practically run the same system."

Central Point's Table Rock Soccer Club has been enjoying a boom in popularity and success in recent years, and Gallegos hopes to build off that.

"We need to bridge that gap between elementary and high school and start getting numbers for us," says Gallegos, who played abroad in Germany for a year in high school and plans to visit Central Point elementary and middle schools to spark interest in the Crater program.

"I'm stoked and ready to get after it."

Reach reporter Tim Pyle at 776-4483 or e-mail