Kaiserslautern, Ramstein soccer coaches step aside

Story and photo by Thomas Warner contributing writer

Kaiserslautern High School head soccer coach Enrique John

Less than a year after Kaiserslautern High School won the boys DODEA soccer championship, head coach Enrique John has stepped down from his top post. John said he chose to “do what was best for the program at this given time” and elected three weeks ago to hand the controls to top assistants Dominic Stumpf and Lisa Rimmler.

John’s resignation was not spurred by any misconduct or negative extenuating circumstances and he continues his work as an educator at the school where he had been head coach for four seasons. John’s teams never finished below third place in the DODEA large school’s classification and had put together an undefeated campaign in 2017 that ended with a 3-1 championship victory over rival Ramstein High School.

Ramstein also lost a varsity leader at the start of this season when girls head coach Ricardo Buitrago resigned. The Royals had been under Buitrago’s guidance for 14 seasons and appeared in nine DODEA championship matches, winning five titles.

“It’s tough not being coach after doing it for so long,” Buitrago said “It’s been one of my biggest passions to have played and been able to coach. I feel like we had a very successful program while I was there.”

Volunteer assistant Ariel Crespo, a former player and coach on Buitrago’s staff, remains alongside current JV coach Katina Campbell and others as the new leadership staff for the girls’ program.

Royals sweep wins over Raiders

In matches played at the start of spring break, Ramstein swept four wins over their area rivals from Kaiserslautern. The feature game between the defending DODEA champion K-Town boys and the visiting Royals was the closest of the day, with the Royals breaking a late scoreless tie when freshman striker Jaden Buelvas raced downfield in the final minutes against two defenders and struck from the right side with the game’s only marker.

“Man, what a great match that was between two really good teams,” Buelvas said. “K-Town has guys that really push you to do your best but my teammates were pushing hard, too, to keep us in position. Things went back and forth out there. Good defense and hustle from my teammates … that’s what set up the goal and it helped us get the win.”

The Ramstein varsity girls topped Kaiserslautern 9-1, then in junior varsity action Ramstein’s boys won 10-1 and the girls won 9-1. Both schools continue their seasons and will work toward the Europeans Championships that happen during the last week of May.