By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– 2019 Western Christian-grad Leah Quesada has returned home to try to reboot a program that she helped, and was apart of, to reach the 3A/2A/1A State Playoffs three of her four years with the Pioneers. Joining fellow Western Christian-grads in Seth Williams (2017, Coaching Boys Soccer) and Madi Hull (2017, Coaching Girls Basketball) in coming back to their Alma Mater to coach.
Quesada, who was a freshman and sophomore playing alongside Hull her junior and senior years, was a first-team All Conference selection her last two seasons with the Pios back in the day when Western Christian and Perrydale were together as a team. The 2019-grad was part of a program that went into the postseason three of the four years that Quesada was in the Blue and White.
Following her graduation however, a rough patch for the Pios as they sent girls to Salem Academy and Amity to play with the Crusaders and Warriors in the years in between. In 2019 with Salem Academy the squad went 7-8, Western Christian didn’t field a team or joined another program in the short-season in the Spring of 2021 before joining Amity last Fall as the Warriors-Pioneer dynamic went 10-5-1.
Now with 12 girls signed up for soccer Quesada is excited with some nerves with the first ‘official’ week of her being a Varsity Head Coach coming to a close Friday afternoon.
“It’s awesome, I loved it when I played here. I Love Western so it’s really cool to come back here and help rebuild a program, I think it’s really exciting. I think we’ll do pretty good this year. I’m excited because we got some athletes,” Quesada said. “A little bit nervous for sure, I haven’t coached Varsity or High School at all so I’m excited.
“A lot of them are new to playing and some have played in the past, we’ll have a pretty new team but I’m excited. A lot of them have played sports in general.”
Quesada points to them being out and putting in the work in the Summer, learning and adapting to being together and preparing for a tough 3A/2A/1A Special District 2 conference that sent Blanchet Catholic, Yamhill-Carlton, Amity and Dayton to the postseason. The Pirates from Dayton up the road from Western Christian reached the State Semifinals before falling to State Runner-Up Oregon Episcopal with Western Christian opening up the season September 6 hosting Salem Academy before traveling to Taft September 10.
“The girls have been out here a lot this Summer practicing. We’ve been trying to stay in good shape. We’re just trying to get ready for the season. They’ve been putting in a lot of hard work, so I think we have a good chance of being pretty good,” Quesada said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald