Monday, December 13, 2021
If there is one individual that bridges the gap between the older generation of coaches and the new, it is Jesse Retan – arguably also one of the best players to hail from Cheney.
Retan was among the many players that played in the club in its formative years as the Spokane Shadow – the youth offshoot of the successful USL PDL men’s team of the 1990s – and not only coaches in the club today, but is still a thriving, competitive player on the First Team.
Retan began his youth career close to home before the launch of the Shadow.
“Just started playing youth soccer in Cheney locally and then joined Spokane Shadow at U13 – shout out my first coach was Tim Seely,” he said of his youth days. “That was when the club was run by Stuart Saunders and Jeff Robbins; and Kevin Moon was a coach as well – a little bit of history.”
And Retan did well under that tutelage, earning the opportunity to work alongside other top players around the nation from other programs affiliated with professional teams long before the era of today’s established MLS academies as the Shadow were members of the USL Super Y-League. He was a USL SYL Regional Pool player from 2004-2006 and earned a spot in the USL SYL National Pool in 2005.
Meanwhile, he was also finding success with the Blackhawks in Cheney, earning All-League honors while helping lead them to a 3A district title in 2006, narrowly missing out on the state tournament due to a shootout loss. Check out this Spokesman-Review feature from the ‘old days’ [+]
Though you could maybe argue he’s still a player first in mindset when you see the passion and focus he displays on the pitch, he brings that same dedication to the sideline.
And that all began in college, where the standout midfielder played at NWAC perennial powerhouse Peninsula College and later Whitworth. Both programs would find success while he was there. Peninsula won their division in 2007 during a season in which he was an All-Star selection after leading the league in assists (number two was Jay Vela for Spokane). Whitworth would win their atop their conference as well.
“That’s kinda when I started coaching. I did some camps with Peninsula College – kinda got my foot in the door. And then after graduating college I ended up coaching a few teams and then kinda finally found my way to the Sounders as a full-time coach for multiple teams. That’s kind of built into the ECNL role.”
And Retan has quickly become a staple in the coaching staff, guiding some of the top teams of both genders with the same desire he shows when he plays.
“I enjoy passing on all the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years, the passion and overall love of the sport. Just getting to share that every single day and to share a laugh and love of the game with young minds. Just being a part of the spirit of the game is something I live for.
But as it has been noted, those playing days aren’t quite over. Retan has been a key member of the Shadow Men’s First Team program since it was resurrected in 2014 as members of the Evergreen Premier League (EPLWA) and continued through the launch of the National Premier Soccer League team several years later. One of the leaders on the pitch, Retan has made the Shadow one of the most competitive sides in the two leagues and he has also taken on coaching roles over the past few years in the program as well.
“Part of what’s cool with the culture of the club is that we have a player pathway; a real platform of U10 to premier to ECNL to the adult level in the EPLWA and NPSL.
“Both are exceptional leagues with mostly college level players and a couple older players like myself, Nick Hammer, Tanner Williams and Mikey Ramos.
“It’s just a joy to to get to still play and interact with the younger college players and the older high school age players who can come play and train. It’s just a great platform for us to give a pathway for those players that want it.”
Seemingly always on the pitch, Retan’s second lifestyle may come as a surprise given his non-stop engine during play and focused intensity on the sideline. He spends a good portion of what little free time he has in serenity… fly fishing.
“I definitely love to fly fish. Definitely a past-time and something that is a huge staple of my life. Whether that’s tying up flies or just finding time to get out on the water and just relax is just kind of my getaway from life. Definitely loving doing that as well as the game.”
And no doubt if you are looking for pointers or tips on how to fish… you probably could bet on Retan being a pretty good coach for that as well.