Monday, June 28, 2021
One could argue that coach Dave Ellis serves the community more than any other coach in the region, balancing his expansive day job as the recently appointed Spokane Valley Police Chief with not only being a coach in the club, but also for a local high school as well as being a soccer dad.
A member of law enforcement since he joined the Post Falls Police Department in 1998, Ellis has continually balanced his work life with the sport he began playing as a youth for Spokane Flames.
“I grew up playing premier soccer for the Flames and during that time I started refereeing in middle school, working my way up to the different levels. In 1996 I was selected as the WYS Referee of the Year, and continued officiating a mix of D1 NCAA and professional matches until I retired from refereeing in 2000.”
That was also the year he was honored as Officer of the Year in Post Falls. And though his career policing the game was done, he was already well into a coaching career at this point, having begun that track in 1992.
“I was fortunate to get opportunities to coach at such a young age, and have appreciated seeing players grow up to be adults who still enjoy and are engaged in the game. After coaching for the Flames (where he also served as the vice president of the club), I joined Spokane Elite with Club Director Abbas Faridnia, staying with it as it merged with Spokane Shadow/Sounders.
“I appreciate getting to be involved in this community, and it has given me a perspective of enjoying watching players keep active while making healthy decisions that can guide them as they become adults. While we all enjoy the competition, I appreciate even more seeing soccer keep our youth active and parents being engaged with them and the rest of our soccer families. These types of activities lead to developing good community members.”
Ellis has provided his players with more than a passion to stay active, guiding them to successful performances on the pitch.
“Some of my favorite highlights include winning two state championships in the last four years – one WYS D1 championship with the 2006 girls, a PSPL state championship with the 2010 girls, and a state finalist award with the 2006 girls – as well as defeating Crossfire to win 2017 Northwest Champions League with the G2006 girls.”
And, as was eluded to earlier, Ellis is even more involved in the soccer community, recently taking on the position of head coach for the Freeman High School girls.
“In 2018 I was approached by families of players that I had used to coach and asked to apply for the position. In addition, I have a special place in my heart for the Freeman community, being one of the first responders to the Freeman school shooting earlier that year.
“It has been a great opportunity to coach former players in a different environment, and see them continue to be successful. I have been fortunate to have a great group of players there, making the quarterfinals twice for the first time in school history, as well as receiving the NEA Coach of the Year award the last two years. The team has a 40-11 record during my tenure, a credit to the players who attend one of the smallest schools in the state.”
Oh, and his daughter plays on the other side of town for Mt Spokane, stretching him even further in his effort to balance everything.
“I’m not sure I do!” he said of having time for it all. “During the high school season, I’m racing to different fields and trying to find a balance that allows me to still see Kami play, coach my Sounders teams, and still manage a very compressed high school schedule.
“Watching Kami play is one of the favorite things to do, so I try to do everything possible to make that happen. In addition, my son Carson is now officiating D1 NCAA matches, so I try to squeeze those games in when he is in town!”
When not in uniform Ellis is certainly immersed in the game. But when you don’t see him on the sidelines it is probably because he is out in the mountains.
“Probably my favorite non-soccer activity is riding my Polaris RZR in the mountains. It’s a great way to get out into nature and enjoy some quiet time!”
If you call tearing up the trails in one of those ‘quiet.’