A victorious season opener meant a little more than usual for soccer as it marked the 1,000th win for 34-year coach Dave Robben.
The girls team defeated Northwest High School 3-1 at home, and although Robben said it was just another game, fans and players took an extra moment to celebrate with the coach.
When the boys team , one of Robben’s assistants noticed that if the team won the last four games of the season, including the state championship, the coach would hit 1,000 wins in that game.
“I said, ‘Can you keep a secret?’ And we never brought it up, never talked about it,” Robben said.
The state championship was not meant to be as . But the secret leaked out when the Oakville girls prepared for their season and the first game against Northwest High School Tuesday at home.
Robben is the first public school coach to win both girls and boys state soccer titles. The coach has spent his entire career at Oakville High School and said it was because of the kids in the area.
“It’s more than just soccer. Our philosophy is, what we do down here (on the field) is an extension of the classroom and they get that,” he said.
The coach’s two assistants, Sarah Guenther and Kyle Forthaus, both competed at the collegiate level after playing for Robben.
“Coach Robben is the most interesting, exquisite, and yet, best coach I’ve ever had,” said Oakville senior Alec McChesney.
McChesney, who was the goalie for the Oakville boys team that , said his favorite Robben moment came before the championship game.
He said Robben did a dance to display time and movement during a team meeting prior to the game.
“First, all of us are dying of laughter because we think it’s a joke, but he’s completely serious, does it for three or four minutes, just back and forth moving his hands, and legs were being picked up. It was by far the coolest thing I’ve ever seen by a coach in that situation,” McChesney said.
Robben was a goalie when he played soccer and said he got into coaching because of the simple joy of the game.
“I’m still having fun, that’s why I’m still here,” he said.
The girls came out strong and scored twice in the first half with goals from seniors Abby Ullo and Ashley Burton.
A free kick by junior Gabby Korte gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead with 31 minutes left in the game.
After subbing the line-up, Northwest scored with 18 minutes left, leaving Oakville with a 3-1 win.
“It was a good night, good win, we played well… training for three weeks and then going on spring break, you never know what’s going to happen,” Robben said.
The Tigers will take on Seckman Thursday at 6 p.m. at Oakville High School.
Check out more photos from the game on our Facebook page.