July 21, 2024
Coach Pepe Aragon

Making The Ball Roll: Coach Aragon Pepe

Since he was a kid, Coach Aragon Pepe has had a love for soccer, and an even bigger love of wanting to teach the sport to others.

Pepe is a “command coach,” meaning he makes all the calls to do what is best for the team. He is very demanding on his players in all aspects academically, socially, and athletically. As a coach, Pepe shows “tough love” to his athletes. He describes tough love as “being honest” to them.

Pepe loves coaching the student athletes at Herkimer because they come from all over the world, though it can be a struggle with language barriers. When recruiting, he looks at the student athletes’ personality, respect, and conduct during the recruitment process.

There are a few pros and cons when it comes to coaching. A pro is that Pepe loves what he does.

According to Pepe, “It is hard work, but I don’t feel like I am going into work because I enjoy the job so much.”

Pepe said that one con is that some athletes feel entitled these days. “Kids feel like they should be starting, and they are nowhere near ready.” This causes some frustration for him as a coach.

During soccer practices the team is very competitive. They go over situations where they are losing before a game even happens so that they’re prepared as a team to avoid losing.

Winning isn’t everything to Coach Pepe, although it would be nice. “You learn a lot more from losses than you do from wins,” he said. Win together, or lose together — the team’s bond is what keeps them together.

Pepe is big on team bonding to keep the team close. Pepe has had the team get together at his house where they get up and dance or sing to get them out of their comfort zone. During their weightlifting sessions he has them change up partners every time, so they don’t get comfortable with just one person.

Pepe said, “I wasn’t just an asshole; I pushed them because I cared,” even though the athletes and maybe those on the outside may perceive him as being “too hard” on them. After coaching for 26 years, Coach Pepe says to his players, “I push you to be great because good is too easy.”

He has been wanting to coach since middle school and now that he is a college coach, it’s a dream come true. Coach Pepe is a caring and respectful coach in every way.