After seven years of coaching the Carmel High varsity girls’ soccer team, Whitney Grummon has stepped down from that position, leaving newcomer Mucho Pefok to fill her cleats.
It came as a shock to the team when beloved Grummon, also a popular CHS English teacher, decided to part ways with them, but she said she did it for all of the right reasons.
After hearing the news that her sister, Wilder, and her niece, Raleigh, were moving to California, Grummon, though ecstatic, was pensive about leaving her team. But taking care of a child, keeping up with her teaching workload and being there for the team was too much for anyone to handle, even Grummon.
“It was a really hard decision, and sometimes I do think I could have done it all, but they are all full-time jobs, and I couldn’t be as present as I’d like to be,” she says.
Though leaving her team was a difficult decision, she left her girls in capable hands.
Although it is his first time coaching girls’ soccer, Mucho Pefok, born in Cameroon, West Africa, came to Monterey to play for Cal State Monterey Bay, as well as coach junior varsity soccer, but now through this experience he is ready to bring the heat this season and share his knowledge of the game with the CHS girls.
“Since I was a kid, I have been very passionate about the sport, and I love it more than anything else, so I am hoping to bring my experience and dedication to the team,” Pefok says.
With aspirations of improving the team, the coach has already planned out his goals for the upcoming season and those to come.
“I want to identify and groom their talent, as well as come up with strategies and enforce strong discipline for the girls,” Pefok says.
Despite the loss of some great players—the dynamic defensive duo Marie Rogers and Jilly Empey as well as forward Lauren Salvati—Mucho still has the extremely focused center-forward Paxton Ataide and some fresh new talent like freshman Itzel Rios-Ellis to work with in order to propel the team this season and bounce them back from their fourth place MTAL finish in 2015-16.
With the soccer season rapidly approaching, the girls have a lot to say about the change.
“Grummon was not only a coach, but a mother figure and a role model, so this is going to be an emotional change more than anything,” senior goalie Allie Staehle says.
Although acknowledging a difficult parting, Staehle is optimistic and looks at the beneficial aspects of this change: “[Grummon] was an amazing coach and motivator who carried the team spiritually, but it is a great opportunity to see coaching styles from two different people, for a better understanding of the game.”
Intrigued by Pefok’s experience and skill, the girls look forward to the opportunity to be coached by him.
“I believe that he will be beneficial to the team,” junior midfielder Hannah Ryan says. “A male figure will help us focus.”
Only time will tell how Pefok’s training will refine and change the girls’ talent, but he believes this season will kick off with a bang, and with his help, the girls will score some great wins this season.