YADKINVILLE — Twenty-four-year-old Edgar Zamora looks the part of the serious school teacher. It’s not hard to picture him as a math and Spanish teacher at Yadkin Early College.
He looks at ease in his business casual clothes in his portable on the backside of the Yadkinville campus.
But come late summer, he’ll be on the practice field and the sidelines guiding the Starmount Rams as their new head coach. He’ll replace Dale Draughn, who stepped down after 17 years on the sideline.
“I always wanted to be the coach,” he said. “Especially at Starmount.
“My thing has always been to help out young people,” Zamora said. “Help them reach their goals.”
Zamora knows he has big shoes to fill. It’s not a program in transition or a team trying to rebuild.
“It’s a big deal,” he said. “They say if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
“But at the same time, I’m adding my vision of things.”
Zamora said he plans to tweak how the Rams prepare for the season. “I want to instill the mentality to be in the best shape they can be in,” he said. “That they are leaders.
“It’s tough being in this position and thinking about how many victories we’ve had in the past,” Zamora continued. “I want to win every ball game. I want to prepare them to win.”
But Zamora said he knows winning every game is unrealistic. He wants to see them pull together when pulling together is the difference between winning and losing. “Especially,” he said, “when I know they are giving me everything they could give me.
“But if we lost and the kids gave it everything they had, that’s OK, too.”
Zamora’s parents, Saul and Maria, moved to the United States from Mihoacan, Mexico, to Danville, Va., in 1989. The Hispanic community traditionally has a deep love for the sport, but Zamora said he was late to the party.
“Of course, I love the game,” he said. “I got into soccer probably in the third grade. I was probably a late bloomer.”
Zamora said his uncle “bought us a soccer ball. I began to watch it; dream about it; talk about it.” It was a way, he said, for him and his brother Adrian, now 20, to have fun.
Zamora was a soccer star at Starmount, earning all-conference honors his senior season. “My job was just to score goals,” he said. He graduated from Appalachian State in 2011 with a degree in secondary math education. He played intramural soccer, coaching recreational teams, an under-14 team, and “a couple of intramural teams.”
The experiences should prepare him for working with athletes only six to eight years younger than he is.
“It’s a little more difficult than someone who is 40,” he said. “It can be a setback. We can make up for that with the hard work. They’ll see I’m committed to doing this. They’ll see I’m a guy who works hard.
“That’s how I can earn their respect.”
Zamora said he didn’t think he’d be back in the area so soon. “I wanted to roam around,” he said. “There is something about this place that keeps me coming back. This is where I’ve met the nicest people.”
Taking on the Starmount job was a matter of whether Zamora could give it the attention it deserved.
“I always expect hard work, responsibility, and professionalism,” Zamora said. “When I commit to something, I want to do it 100 percent.
“The big thing here was committing to it.”
Zamora just got married seven months ago. When he committed to taking the job, he and his wife, Liz, found out she was having a baby — a girl due next month. Liz is finishing the Early Childhood Education program at Surry Community College.
“The biggest thing is I have the support of my wife,” he said. “She said, ‘this is what you love.’ She knows how passionate I am about it.”
Now the pressure is on. “I owe it to my wife, to myself to do the best I can,” he said.
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @elkinareasports.