Paul DesRosier shouted, “Let’s go, let’s get some energy going!” as he walked between two of his RSL Southern Arizona teams practicing earlier this week at Booth-Fickett Middle School.
Although the sun was close to setting with practice underway past 6:30 p.m., the temperature was still around 100 degrees and his players needed a little push to get them going. He was not overbearing, don’t get that wrong. No sprints. No “give me 20 pushups.”
A conscientious coach, he was getting their minds to focus on the objective at hand.
Come Monday at Boise, Idaho, where the high temperature these days is in the low 80s, no prodding will be necessary for his RSL-AZ Southern Arizona 2008 (13U) and 2006 (15U) girls soccer teams.
That is when his teams begin play in the U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships by virtue of each of them winning the Arizona State Cup for their respective age group on May 2.
The 15U team is ranked No. 1 in the nation by GotSoccer.com and 13U team is ranked No. 3.
The 15U team did not allow a goal in the state tournament and the 13U team conceded only two goals.
“There’s no relaxing when you go to regionals,” said DesRosier, whose wife Lisa is the manager for both teams.
DesRosier (pronounced Deh-rose-shur) and his daughters Anjeli and Jianae arrived at Booth-Fickett about a half-hour early to set up practice as is customary. The teams have practiced there and at Doolen Middle School regularly since winning the state titles.
The DesRosier family is to soccer in Tucson what the Bourguets are to football and the Evans family is to basketball.
Trent Bourguet made Marana a state playoff team as a quarterback before heading to ASU and his brother Treyson, also a quarterback, is being heavily recruited after leading Salpointe to the Open Division semifinals in consecutive years.
Evan Nelson led the Lancers to their first state boys title in 2019-20 and sister Jaya was a senior captain for Salpointe’s team that reached the state title game this season.
Anjeli, a freshman varsity player last season, scored one of the goals in Salpointe’s 2-0 win in the state championship over top seed Prescott in March. Jhianae is a budding soccer player entering the eighth grade this fall.
Their oldest sister Milana, who attended BASIS Oro Valley High School, recently completed her freshman season with Idaho’s soccer team. She attends school at Moscow, Idaho, almost 300 miles from Boise, where her sisters will play next week for the opportunity to compete in the US Youth Soccer National Championships in Bradenton-Sarasota, Fla., from July 20-25.
Another daughter, Alina, is entering her senior year at Salpointe, and “she decided that soccer is for the crazies of the family,” Paul said.
“She’s a photography bug,” he said. “She does amazing photos that have been actually featured in multiple different publications in terms of sports photography. She has an interest to go and study nursing and we’re really, really proud of her academics and her other achievements.”
The drive to succeed that DesRosier’s family embodies transcends to the RSL-AZ Southern Arizona organization.
His practices are well-planned and executed. His call for energy from his players was meant to keep them on track so he could provide as many teaching moments as possible. He scaled back practice from two hours to nearly 90 minutes recently to not overwork the players, especially in the heat.
“We’ve shortened the practices so let’s take advantage of the time we do have!” he shouted to them. “Let’s go!”
Anjeli, a midfielder with the 15U team, welcomes the experience of playing for her father, who has coached local youths for 15 years.
She tried to branch out and play for other organizations but realized the best way to develop was under his tutelage.
“It’s just a different kind of level of soccer, a different type of soccer,” Anjeli said of her dad as coach. “It’s really fun but really intense at the same time.”
Soccer runs in the family, but they also enjoy dance and have dabbled with softball because of their athleticism.
“It’s not like soccer 24/7,” Jianae said, “but it’s still very intense.”
The teams are also guided by Cochise College women’s soccer coach Bobby Peters, whose daughter Chloe is on the 13U team.
Jose Jimenez, owner of Petroglyphs, a home goods store located just south of Mercado San Augustin, has a daughter on each team — Cyvia with the 15U team and Ani with the 13U team.
Jimenez, one of many parents who bring folding chairs to sit and watch their daughters practice, marvels at the path Peters takes to be part of the organization with his daughter on a volunteer basis.
Peters and his daughter make the round trip from Douglas, transporting members of the team who live in Sierra Vista, to the practices that occur two days a week.
“It’s amazing,” Jimenez said. “We’re fortunate having him help Coach Paul.”
The transformation of youth soccer in Southern Arizona has created that type of scenario of parents going to extremes to make sure their children are adequately trained, developed and coached.
The RSL-AZ Southern Arizona and FC Tucson youth programs are among the elite in a state that has numerous competitive outlets.
The high level of soccer in this area has translated into powerhouse high school programs such as Salpointe’s boys and girls teams winning multiple state titles, Tucson High’s boys and girls teams perennial contenders and Sunnyside’s boys team becoming nationally ranked in recent years.
The elder DesRosier has developed his own coaching philosophy that provides his players a key component of their development that was missing when he was young and trying to establish himself as a successful soccer player.
“I didn’t have the mentor that was willing to be honest with me about things that I could have done as a young player to enhance my game,” he said. “I didn’t have the work ethic that I think many of these girls are being taught to have at a younger age.
“That’s what motivates me as a coach, if I’m being perfectly honest, is to find players who want it, to have that desire, and then give them the honest feedback and the tools to actually get to that next level.”
DesRosier, who has worked in medical sales, has earned recognition in recent years for his charity work. He has purchased bikes for children in the Tohono O’Odham reservation during Christmastime, which landed him a Ben’s Bells award locally for his act of kindness.
His uniqueness carries on to his coaching style in today’s ultracompetitive world of soccer.
Some coaches are proud to say they are system-oriented. They are rigid. They make their players sprint and grind. They are repetitive and drill-oriented.
Paul DesRosier coaches differently. He works more on his players’ thinking process. He develops players through scenarios and situations at certain points of a match “to integrate the mental capacity of analyzing and making decisions real time, and then being able to apply it with confidence at realistic speeds.”
Both of his teams are significant challengers for a regional title at Boise with their lofty national rankings. What he wants most out of his players is responding well to situations and playing with the concepts of team soccer he has helped them develop.
“In terms of creating players that don’t need to be driven from the sidelines and can make their own decisions, analyze and then adjust, those are the players that any college coach would beg for,” he said. “And so why not? The power is in our hands. The long-term vision has to be articulated to the parents, so that they’re not making rash decisions based on not winning the state cup or not being the best team in the region.
“As long as we’re progressing towards that end point. I think we’re serving the community incredibly well.”
U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships
15U Bracket D Schedule
To be determined.
RSL-AZ Southern Arizona is in Bracket D with Eugene (Ore.) Timbers FC and League 30 L30 Masia.
13U Bracket C Schedule
|12:00PM||RSL-AZ Southern AZ Girls U13 08 RSL Girls DesRosier (AZ-SC)||–||Boise Timbers | Thorns BTT 08 Boise Thorns – Elite (ID-SC)|
|10:00AM||RSL-AZ Southern AZ Girls U13 08 RSL Girls DesRosier (AZ-SC)||–||US Youth Soccer West NCS 13G CS PSC|
|10:00AM||Impact United SC Impact MN (UT-SC)||–||RSL-AZ Southern AZ Girls U13 08 RSL Girls DesRosier (AZ-SC)|
RSL-AZ Southern Arizona 2006 Girls 15U DesRosier
RSL-AZ Southern Arizona 2008 Girls 13U DesRosier
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District