Meet Sunnyside boys soccer head coach Casey O’Brien

“If you aren’t competing against us, support us.”

— Casey O’Brien, Sunnyside boys soccer coach
Sunnyside boys soccer coach Casey O’Brien talk with his team against Mesa. (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

Since 2015, the Sunnyside boys soccer team has been coached by Casey O’Brien. When O’Brien started at Sunnyside, the team was coming off of a 7-6-1 season. Since then, O’Brien and the Blue Devils have gone on a combined record of 165-34-8 and have won a state title plus multiple section titles.

Interviewers Note: Joa’o Lara

Relocating 850-plus miles is already considered as a challenging task. Now, if you could only imagine doing that same task while entering your senior year in high school, you’d probably feel your stomach churn at the thought of starting all over again. For as long I could remember there were always two things that were common in my life: Soccer and moving. The other two times I had moved (Arizona-California, California-Texas), I was young and had no fear of attempting to interact with people. Being the new kid always made me feel interesting. This new particular move back to Arizona was different as I had no idea how I would fit in, until one day I sent an email to a then unknown coach:

Hello Coach O’Brien,

My cousin and I are new students at Sunnyside and are interested in playing soccer. We were also wondering if you had any summer programs to train with the team.” 

Ever since then, this program has allowed me to no longer feel as an outsider or as a newcomer thanks to Coach O’Brien and all of my teammates who have accompanied me along this journey. The way we all come together at practice, recovery, and in the classroom, has allowed not only myself but others to find a family in a most unlikely place. When I first met Coach O’Brien, I will be quite honest when saying that I was intimidated. Being a bigger or heavier soccer player was difficult and Coach O’Brien was always vocal with me about his expectations but always drove me to do better. In every workout, every drill, and every run, Coach was always there pushing me not to quit and to do better. If it weren’t for him, I feel like I wouldn’t have been a part of this team. Even though he has a stone demeanor at times, he means well for his players and is trying to make a positive change in the community through them. 

After being a part of the Sunnyside soccer program and meeting Coach O’Brien in depth, I was determined to allow not only those in the community but everybody involved in the Arizona soccer scene to truly meet Coach and get to know him. As an aspiring sports reporter, I saw this as an opportunity to not only start my career but as a way to honor and thank a coach who has endlessly fought for this team.

 Although I’ve only known him for one season, he has made an impact on me that will last a lifetime. 

This was all possible thanks to not only Coach, but also Mr. Javier Morales for giving me this opportunity at AllSportsTucson.com and Mr. Nicholas Duddleston for also demonstrating his support by allowing me to use his facilities at Sunnyside High School.

After my one season on the soccer team, I think it’s safe to say that I will be a Blue Devil for life.

Please enjoy this interview with Coach O’Brien:

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