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After 44 years of Terpsmas, RC in search of new coach
SOC--RC-Terpsma resigns pic use this
Jerry Terpsma, right, joined his son Keith for his final practice as Ripon Christians boys soccer coach in mid-February. They are the only boys soccer coach the school has ever had in the 44 years of the programs existence. - photo by Photo submitted by JERRY TERPSMA

Jerry Terpsma started Ripon Christian’s boys soccer team in 1973 at the behest of then athletic director and basketball coach Chuck Hoag.
At the time, Terpsma said, there were complaints that RC’s tradition-rich basketball team had an unfair advantage over rival programs, getting to hone its players’ skills several months in advance of each season since the school did not offer any fall sports for the boys.
Terpsma had little soccer experience, admitting that he had “never heard of soccer” until he was convinced to join the squad while attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
That was good enough for Hoag.
“Chuck said, ‘We gotta have a soccer team, and you’re going to be the coach,’’ Terpsma said. “And that’s how it happened.”
Nearly five decades later, he attended the final practice conducted by his son Keith, who stepped down after 16 seasons as Ripon Christian’s head coach. It quietly marked the end of an era at a school where basketball and volleyball have long reigned.
They’re the only two varsity boys soccer coaches the Knights have ever had, and their combined tenure spans 44 years.
“It was a very tough decision to step away,” the younger Terpsma said, “but I think with the time involved and the age of my kids and me wanting to attend more of their sports and school activities we decided it was the best time for it to happen.”
His sons, Caleb and Eli, are both students at Ripon Christian’s elementary school. Caleb will be a freshman at the high school next year and plans to continue playing basketball there. Eli, currently a sixth grader, is the soccer player.
Ripon Christian captured 10 league championships and two Sac-Joaquin Section banners for boys soccer under the Terpsmas.
Keith wasn’t even born yet when Jerry guided the program through its first steps. The Knights started out as a fill-in for byes in the seven-school San Joaquin Athletic Association, which then mostly consisted of Stockton’s public schools. Ripon Christian was a full-fledged SJAA member for the next three years before going independent. The program eventually settled into the Southern Athletic League, joined neighboring rival Ripon High in the Trans-Valley League and in 2010 returned to the SAL.
“We only had eight games in our first year,” Jerry Terpsma said. “We went 0-7-1 and we got the tie in our final game. I believe it was 1-1 against Lodi.”
It took 10 years for Ripon Christian to gain its first league crown and had stretches of dominance in the 1980s and 90s. The Knights went 301-150-62 in Jerry’s 28 years as coach. The Knights defeated Dixon 2-0 for the SJS Division III championship in 1994.
Keith, unfortunately, graduated a year before the section title run but left behind individual program records — including most goals in a single season (44), career goals and career assists — that still stand today.
Jerry calls himself “a stats guy,” while Keith says, “that gene skipped me.”
“One record (Keith) probably doesn’t remember is that in 28 years I got two yellow cards total — one I deserved, and the other one I asked for it,” Jerry said. “I think he surpassed that in his first year.”
Keith was a three-sport athlete at Ripon Christian and, like his father, attended Calvin College and played soccer there. After three years at Contra Costa Christian in Walnut Creek, Terpsma returned home after accepting a teaching position at his alma mater.
He began teaching at Ripon Christian’s elementary school in the spring of 2001, and it just so happened that his father resigned as soccer coach in fall 2000. Keith never planned to take over.
“I was still teaching with my wife in Walnut Creek when my dad decided to step down,” Keith said. “After getting the job at RC I got asked (to coach the soccer team) and I didn’t say ‘yes’ right away.
“I didn’t know what it was like coaching a varsity sport. It worked on me a little bit and I decided to go for it.”
Ripon Christian enjoyed some success early on with Keith Terpsma calling the shots, advancing to the SJS Division IV playoffs in 2003. Then in 2004, Ripon Christian’s fledgling football program had its first varsity team, decimating Terpsma’s roster for years.
“The fact is, I had my choice of all the male athletes in the fall, and by the time the football program had a varsity team I had to split with them probably 50-50,” Keith said. “That definitely affected our success as far as wins and losses go, but all those years were worth it for me.”
His persistence paid off in 2014.
The Knights claimed the Southern League title, finished with a 22-4-1 record and trounced Sacramento Country Day 4-1 with Andrew Manes scoring all of the team’s goals in the SJS Division VII finals.
“I’m very proud of him and what he’s done,” Jerry said of son’s time as coach. “It’s more about his values and what he tries to teach the kids and not just wins. For him it was about winning the right away, playing the game the right way and with respect for the opponents and the game.”
Jerry taught at Ripon Christian for 45 years and spent three as its athletic director. He retired in 2011 but continued to support his son and the soccer team.
“He keeps himself busy, which is good for him and for us,” Keith said.
As for Keith, he’ll still be around. In fact, he began coaching Ripon Christian’s middle school boys soccer team this past fall and intends to do so for a while. His goal is to help develop young talent for the high school.
“I enjoy the close-knight feel of Ripon Christian,” Terpsma said. “If possible, I would like to stay in touch with the program and help out the new coach any way I can, but at the same time I’m satisfied to be coaching at that lower level.”
Ripon Christian athletic director Kevin Tameling has begun the search for a new boys soccer coach. He can be reached at and 209.599.2155 ext.2323.