The Milwaukie Spanish teacher moves from the Mustang boys program to take the helm in girls soccer -

It’s been awhile since Milwaukie High School has had success in girls soccer.

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY JOHN DENNY - Milwaukie High School first-year head soccer coach Matt Prenger (left) and assistant coach Kent McCarty (second from left) are hopeful that Milwaukie's overall competitiveness will translate into a few more games in the win column this fall. Prenger has been an assistant in Milwaukie's boys program the past six seasons; McCarty, a longtime area youth coach, is in his fourth season as an assistant coach in the high school girls program.But Milwaukie first-year head coach Matt Prenger is hopeful that will change, as he works to build on the foundation that former head coach Kelly Hyde established over the last six seasons.

Hyde had her first child in the spring, and is taking a break from coaching to raise her child.

Prenger says of his goals for the program: “To grow the program in terms of numbers, to develop player skills, to compete at a high level and move up the league table — with the ultimate prize being a playoff spot, to build off of what coach Hyde and her staff have done, to use soccer as a tool to help develop and prepare the players for their futures, and to give the players a positive experience, where they have an opportunity to taste success.”

Prenger has been a high school Spanish teacher in the North Clackamas School District the past 14 years. He’s been teaching Spanish at Milwaukie High School and assisting in the boys soccer program at Milwaukie since the 2008 season.

“One of my career objectives has been to run a program,” Prenger said. “When the opportunity arose, knowing many of the players, I decided to throw my hat in. I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge.”

Prenger insists that although the Mustangs have not been that successful in the win-loss column in girls soccer, they are not without the potential to be successful.

“It’s not like the team wasn’t competitive,” said Prenger. “Although they didn’t win a lot, a lot of the games were close.”

“And it’s not that we don’t have talent,” Prenger added. “We’ve got at least three players who are very high level players. We’ve got some players capable of playing college-level soccer. Another thing I like about this team is the girls, for the most part, are all good students. I’ve had some of them in my classroom and I’ve got some 4.0 students on this team. I’m hopeful the intelligence in the classroom will translate into success on the soccer field.”

Prenger, 42, is a 1990 graduate of Portland’s Marshall High School, where he was a three-sport athlete, playing soccer, basketball and baseball, and earning all-city honors in soccer and baseball.

He played baseball two years at Western Oregon State College and then transferred to the University of Oregon, where he earned secondary teaching certification in Spanish.

He then taught Spanish and assisted coaching boys soccer eight years at Putnam, before joining the Mustang teaching and coaching staff in 2008.

Prenger’s Mustangs had some success in early summer-league play, playing Barlow to a 2-2 standoff in their opener, and giving St. Helens a run for its money in a 1-0 loss.

“We may not be the prettiest program out there,” said Prenger. “But we’re going to fight and claw and scratch. And, win or lose, we’re going to compete.”

One of the Mustangs’ biggest challenges will be finding scorers. Last season Milwaukie went 3-9-1, scoring only 13 goals, to 30 goals by its opponents. The Mustangs were shut out in eight of their 13 games last fall.

“We’re going to try to build our offense from the back,” said Prenger. “But it’s going to take everyone getting involved.”

Milwaukie went 5-46-1 in league (17-61-5 overall) in Hyde’s six seasons at the helm. Hyde’s best season was in 2010, when the Mustangs went 3-4-0 in the Northwest Oregon Conference and 5-8-1 overall.

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