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Soper leaves post as North head coach

Matt Soper is stepping aside after four seasons as North Medford boys soccer coach, he announced on Thursday.

Soper led the Black Tornado to the playoffs in each year as head coach and had been on staff as an assistant since the 1994 season.

He leaves in order to focus more attention to his family and their businesses.

Soper operates Grand Central Bagel in Medford, and his wife is a massage therapist. The couple has three kids.

"Our businesses are starting to pick up," said Soper, who graduated from North Medford in 1989. "And our kids are all playing sports now. It will be nice to see their sporting events."

Soper said he hopes to stay on staff as an assistant or JV coach, depending on his replacement.

"I don't want to hang up the coaching just yet," he said.

Soper's finest coaching job may have come in his first season as head coach. He inherited a program from Rich Garcia that lost 15 seniors from the year before but still found its way into the playoffs.

"We had a really, really young team," Soper said. "That was a great accomplishment.

"I'll miss the staff at North and all the kids, seeing them come in as wide-eyed freshmen and seeing them leave the program and sometimes playing in college."

North Medford Athletic Director Tim Sam said the position will be posted immediately, and he hopes to have a replacement named by the end of the month.

North Medford finished 4-10-1 overall and 3-7 in the Southwest Conference, good for fourth place. The Black Tornado lost in the first round of the playoffs 4-0 to Hood River Valley.

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com