When Winona Senior High announced that Oscar Uribe would be stepping in as the new boys’ soccer head coach, the program gained an experienced manager.
With more than a decade of coaching experience combined as a high school coach in Texas and over at Cotter, in addition to his college coaching experience at St. Mary’s and Winona State, Uribe knows a great deal about coaching football at the highest level.
He also knows most of the Winona squad firsthand and has coached his son Max and teammates at youth level for many years.
Uribe jokes that the players were initially excited to switch to high school football with a different coaching staff, although he knows they’ll be happy to have him back at the helm.
“At some point at the club level, they got tired of hearing my voice telling them to do this and that,” Uribe said with a chuckle. “I think it’s good that we were able to break away from each other from time to time and that they were able to experience different coaching sessions. It gave them a different perspective, so I think they’re ready for me to come back and I’m ready for me to be a part of their football career.”
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But before his coaching career took off, it was another sport that caught Uribe’s attention; Growing up in Mexico City, Uribe was an American football player, not a fútbol player.
A linebacker and defenseman, Uribe gained some notoriety as a high school player, earning a college scholarship to Universidad de las Americas Puebla, one of the top teams in Mexico’s Division 1, which Uribe says roughly matches the talent level in America’s Division III .
Uribe and the Aztecas had much success, even winning a national title in his 1995 senior season, the first of three straight titles for the team.
After college, Uribe and teammate Marco Martos tried their hand at the fledgling NFL Europe Pro League.
Martos became one of the top receivers in the league with the Barcelona Dragons and even played preseason games with NFL legends like Troy Aikman and John Elway. Uribe narrowly missed the cut for NFL Europe, but made the roster for a trio of European pro teams over the course of three seasons.
His best year came in 2000 with the Bergamo Lions in the Italian football league when the team won the Italian championship and then won Eurobowl XIV against the Hamburg (Germany) Blue Devils 42-20.
As his soccer career came to an end, Uribe started running marathons and Iron Man races and he believes his sporting experience gives him a lot of knowledge on how to prepare his players, although he hasn’t officially played soccer.
“The fundamentals and the conditioning, all of that is part of all the different sporting events and things that I’ve done,” Uribe said.
It’s an exciting time for Uribe to take the lead in the Winhawks program and continue one of the best seasons in recent history as the team went 11-6-1 and secured first place in the Section 1AA tournament bracket.
While a number of key seniors have left due to graduation, there is still plenty of talent for the new coach to mold.
“I know what they are capable of and what they can achieve and what their goals and expectations are,” Uribe said.
Andrew Tucker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @andrewjtucker16