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With an ever-changing soccer world, North Huntington Beach Futbol Club has seen its good days and rainy days. Nevertheless, NHB has stuck to its guns and maintained the same philosophy it has held since its inception in 1977, to develop players and coaches, while maintaining strong ties with its community.

About 10 years ago, NHB was in transition to continue their mission and objective, so the club’s Board of Directors decided to bring in Chris Volk to help resume and strengthen this mission and he has done just that.

The times may have changed, but the mission has not, and with the changes, Volk has been able to help the club remain true to its values, making improvements where necessary to stay afloat with the soccer world.

“We’re a club that’s evolved with the game over the years,” Volk said. “We still serve our community here in the outlying areas. We’ve had success by sticking to a model that works for us and works for our players and our families.

“We want to stay on course with what U.S Soccer’s expectations are and their guidelines. Part of my job is to adhere to those things and instill that in our coaches to make sure they’re handing those off to the kids,” he added.

While there are teams that maintain a win-at-all-costs mentality, NHB has continued to focus on development. A big part of Volk’s job is to find the perfect coach that not only fits into the NHB philosophy, but a coach that can be a role model, a teacher, knowledgeable in the game and is patient in the development process.

As a payback, coaches are offered a good working environment with some of the best players in the area, as well as flexibility to practice different styles of play. Additionally, and most importantly, NHB encourages and supports coaches to further their education, going through Cal South’s Coaching Education courses to prepare them for the National “D” License, and covering all the costs.

This not only motivates coaches to pursue higher coaching education, but to hand off all their experience and knowledge to their players.

“I think what makes this club standout from the rest of them, is that we actually care about the development of the kids,” said NHB President Shereen Walter.  “It’s not about making sure we have the highest paid coaches, or the highest paid Directors of Coaching. It’s really about making sure that the kids have the opportunity to develop a love for the game and the ability to play in good competition. We’re different because we really do care about their development.”

Seventeen years ago, Francisco Flores was coaching his oldest son at a different club. Toward the end of the season, his team was playing an NHB team and after the game, the Huntington Beach coach approached Flores with opportunities for the future. Flores didn’t hesitate, and since then, has been an important part of the club and coaching staff.

With almost two decades with the club, Flores has grown not only as a person, but as a coach, as well, so the memories are endless. He has seen hundreds of players start from its youngest team to moving on to collegiate soccer.

“It’s a special place to be,” Flores said. “It’s one of those gems that sometimes gets overlooked because of bigger attractions around, but it’s something that tradition dictates that we should continue. Those that are here strongly believe in it and we welcome anyone who believes in tradition to give us a look.”

Being a part of NHB is definitely tradition for the Engesser family. Starting with her eldest son, Jan Engesser began her time with the club, and then slowly, the rest of her children began playing soccer with NHB. It wasn’t until her daughter Kim began playing that Jan took on a more active role with the club, one of an assistant coach to her daughter’s team. And things got serious as the girls won National Cup, Regionals and then moved on to the National Championships. Unfortunately for them, they were unlucky in their first attempt, but it was the determination and hard work that the club instilled that allowed that same group of girls to capture the national title the following year.

In present time, Kim Ruiz (née Engesser) is still active with NHB, serving as the Tournament Director. However, her experience with the club has motivated her and her husband, who also played for NHB, to continue their ties with the club with their young sons.

“Playing for NHB was probably one of my best soccer experiences besides playing in high school and college,” Kim said.  “I played for the club growing up, my husband played for the club, we look forward to our boys, down the road playing for the club. It’s just a good community club, a local club, good sense of family here and I think it’s a good thing what we have going at NHB.”