East Union boys soccer coach Ronnie Green has lost his right-hand man.
Now, Jason Silva stands as his equal.
Silva has taken over as girls head coach for their alma mater after serving as Green's junior varsity coach and top assistant the past three years. Together, they elevated an already-competitive East Union boys club to new heights, leading the Lancers to their first Sac-Joaquin Section and California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Regional championships last season.
“When the (girls coaching) position became available I talked to Ronnie about it and said hey, let's make this bigger than what it is,” Silva said. “It's more than just the boys program and the girls program, let's have one program — an East Union soccer program that works together and supports each other. Let's build a powerful girls program alongside the boys. He loved it.”
Silva replaces Carlos Gaspar, who compiled a 40-20-7 record in three seasons. East Union's girls squad twice finished as runner-up to rival Sierra in the Valley Oak League and reached the postseason every year under Gaspar.
Silva hopes he can help the Lady Lancers get to the next level and believes continuity will be key. Roger Casci returns as assistant coach as does Isela Rivera as JV coach. Rivera starred on East Union's 2014 and 2015 section championship teams.
Fourth-year standouts Taylor McMahon and Hailey Sims along with the goalkeeping combination of Malia Allen and Kylie Mendez anchor what is expected to be a young team in a top-heavy league. Sierra reigns as VOL champ, but Manteca returns plenty of talent from its SJS Division III title team.
“Last year, they had some solid juniors who are coming back along with some really talented JV players and freshmen girls coming up,” Silva said. “East Union has been a solid team, they just have not been able to get to that next level. That's a challenge I'm looking forward to. … I know these girls and I know they came make the next step, they just maybe need a little bit of a push to get there.”
Silva and Green grew up on the pitch together. Silva was part of three straight VOL championship soccer teams as a player before graduating in 1993. Green graduated in 1992. Silva was team captain and an all-league selection his senior year.
Silva has coached for 15 years at various levels and age groups, spending the last six years with Manteca FC. He also led Sierra's junior varsity boys team while Green was varsity co-head coach with Joe Pires in the 2016-17 season. In three years as East Union's JV coach, he went 63-7-4 and won three league crowns.
“When (Green) came over to East Union, of course I made the jump with him because that's our school.” Silva said. “We work really well together, we know each other inside and out. Everything we wanted to work on between the JV and varsity, we were always on the same page.
“I'm definitely going to miss coaching the boys,” he added. “I won't be too far away. I'm still going to support them and be at their games. It was a hard decision, that's for sure, but we're going to work together to try and get both programs up to a high level.”