Churchill's Girls Soccer Coach Haroot Hakopian Reaches 200 Win Mark

H Head Shot

Haroot Hakopian, the longtime varsity girls soccer coach at Churchill High School in Montgomery County, won his 200th career game at the school on Monday when the Bulldogs beat Whitman 5-0. It was Whitman's first loss since October 9, 2013. Churchill, which picked up Hakopian's 201st victory in a win against Gaithersburg yesterday, is 9-1-1 this season.

"I love all the wins and all the celebrations but I pride myself on the fact that many of my players are now coaches themselves," Hakopian said. "That is the ultimate way to pass on my passion and love for the game."

Hakopian came to Churchill in 2001 after being at Gaithersburg High School for eight years. He was looking for a school where he could teach English and coach soccer, and Churchill had openings at both positions.

Hakopian vividly remembers his first win for Churchill. It came against Wheaton and Churchill had a 6-0 lead by halftime. It was the first time in his coaching career that he had to worry about making sure the score did not get too out of hand.

Churchill has been a consistent contender for county, regional and state titles during his tenure. While Hakopian has been the one constant through the years, he is still quick to pass the credit onto the players he's coached.

"The first coaching course I attended was taught by a cadre of highly successful college coaches including Anson Dorrance of UNC-Chapel Hill. The first thing he told us was 'If you want to be a good coach, make sure you have great players,'" said Hakopian. "This is the reason for my success. I have been blessed with extremely talented and dedicated young women who work hard in achieving our teams' goals. My 200 wins is a direct result of their efforts."

When asked to recall a marquee game during his time at Churchill, Hakopian's first answer was his 200th win. He also highlighted Churchill's loss in the regional finals of 2009 to B-CC. It was an exciting game played in front of a giant crowd, with Hakopian estimating that 1,200 people were in attendance.

There were many ups and downs in the game, including Churchill having to rely on their backup goalkeeper to make numerous unbelievable saves. Even though Churchill lost on penalties, Hakopian says that is still the most incredible atmosphere he has coached in.

With the playoffs just around the corner, Hakopian is hoping the Bulldogs can play in electric atmospheres once again by making a deep run. Churchill has been superb during the regular season, outscoring their opponents 58-6. A state championship in addition to eclipsing the 200 win mark is about as good a season that a coach can have, but Hakopian knows how competitive his team's region is, with teams like B-CC and Whitman posing serious threats to Churchill's chances.

"I am extremely proud of our regular season but starting next week, it means nothing," said Hakopian. "We have to prepare to face some of the best teams in the state in order to keep our season going."
October 22nd, 2015By: Wick Eisenberg

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