Former Player Liam Anderson Takes MHS Boys Soccer Coaching Reigns from Rodriguez

The Malibu High Sharks boys soccer team began their season last week with a familiar face in a new role. 

Liam Anderson, a former Malibu player and the boys team assistant coach for six years, is now the squad’s head coach. Ignacio Rodriguez, the Sharks head coach since 2015, stepped down from coaching Malibu in February to focus on his work as a real estate agent. Anderson was named head coach the next month. 

“It feels like the right time for him to take over,” said Rodriguez. “He has tons of energy and tons of experience. He has been coaching some of the young guys that will be coming up. The program is in good hands with Liam.” 

Anderson, a 2012 MHS graduate, said being his alma mater’s coach feels great.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” he said. “It is something I had been thinking about for a long time in hopes I would get the job.”

Both coaches said Malibu’s players are excited about having Anderson as the coach. Rodriguez remains involved with the team. 

“I’m the program’s biggest fan,” he said. 

Malibu opened the season with a 15-0 home win over Santa Clara on Nov. 22. They hosted Triumph Charter on Tuesday. The Sharks host Viewpoint on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. They host Mayfair on Dec. 5 at 3:30 p.m.

Anderson, an attacking midfielder in high school and in adult league soccer matches, said fans can expect Malibu to attempt to score a lot of goals.

“I have an attacking-minded style of play,” he said. “I want the team to score goals. I want to play attractive soccer people want to watch. I’d rather have a game with 30 goals in it, than a game with one. I’d rather win 2-1, than 1-0. I want kids to be excited about the game.”

The new head coach expects Malibu to play hard. Captain and goalkeeper Takota Moore, midfielder Jace Kletter, and striker Jared Chavez are the players Anderson expects to be leaders. 

Rodriguez was a Malibu assistant coach for six years before he got the head coaching job. When he did, he asked Anderson to be his assistant coach. Anderson, who had other interests at the time, took the job after thinking about it for a while.

An avid soccer player then and now, Anderson, didn’t believe coaching was for him initially.

“I went out on a limb and decided to do the season and fell in love with it,” Anderson said. “I still thought of myself as a player, but it ended up being something really positive.”

Anderson has played soccer since he was a tyke. He possessed coaching attributes before he thought about stepping on the sideline. 

“When I was younger, I was the one that always organized when my friends and I would get together to train,” Anderson said. “That goes hand-in-hand with coaching. The organizational side of coaching was something I did at a younger age. I was in middle school doing this.”

Rodriguez and Anderson had a great relationship on the sideline, said Rodriguez.

“I could bounce ideas off of Liam,” he said. “I had a partner that made things more fun. We share an enthusiasm for soccer.” 

Rodriguez graduated from high school the same year his team won CIF. He was right midfielder on the squad.

Rodriguez will always recall coaching winning Sharks squads and how teams overcame obstacles such as the 2018 Woolsey Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic. The most memorable times are the team banquets at the end of the season though.

“Those memories are really with me,” Rodriguez said. “It’s in those moments think of all the moments you had with the seniors over a four-year period. It’s a sense of gratitude.”

He enjoyed coaching Malibu. 

“I’m grateful I had the opportunity,” Rodriguez noted. 

Rodriguez, Anderson said, is a strong leader, who taught him to work hard. 

“He is the guy that can get everyone to work together,” Anderson said. “Ignacio is phenomenal.” 

Rodriguez said it is a privilege to be part of Malibu’s soccer program. 

“It’s been a fantastic journey with Coach Liam by my side,” he said. “I’m excited to see him as head coach and look forward to watching him make his own mark on this storied program. I have the utmost confidence in him and his ability to lead this team to many future successes.”

The article was updated from the print article to correct Liam Anderson’s last name.

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