Grand Valley soccer coach Sarno resigns

Eric Sarno now knows his calling. He’s a coach.

“I just had a heart for it,” Grand Valley High School’s boys and girls head soccer coach said. “It’s just a passion. I found my niche.”

Sarno is leaving Parachute behind knowing he will always be a coach. The Front Range native resigned from his post as boys coach for personal reasons but hasn’t ruled out a return to coach the girls next spring. He’s moving to the Fort Collins area, which is where he grew up.

“I’m a Fort Collins and Front Range guy,” said Sarno, who graduated from Poudre High School in Fort Collins.

Sarno led Grand Valley’s girls to the playoffs for the first time in program history this spring. The Cardinals went 13-3-1, advancing to Class 3A’s round of 16 in a breakthrough season.

Soccer is a relatively new to the sports scene at Grand Valley, where the girls program went varsity in the spring of 2009, and the boys took the varsity leap in the fall of 2010.

Sarno, who will turn 25 this summer, became each program’s second coach during the 2011-12 school year and wasted no time becoming an active member of the Parachute community. Atop his job as program supervisor with Parachute-Battlement Mesa Parks and Recreation, he hosted a sports talk radio show on KSUN (103.9 FM).

Sarno is, and always has been, a sports junkie.

“I’ve lived it and breathed it,” he said. “Soccer’s always been my main focus, but I played football, basketball, baseball, everything I could, growing up.”

Injuries cut short Sarno’s collegiate soccer career before it ever really started. After redshirting his freshman year at Oregon State University, anterior cruciate ligament and posterior cruciate ligament injuries forced him to abandon that dream.

“I never really was able to recover,” he said.

After Corvallis, Ore., Durango was Sarno’s next stop. He graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in sports administration and a minor in coaching. He hopes to put his degree to use on the Front Range.

“I want to be involved with professional sports on some level,” he said. “It could be tennis. It could be golf. I just want to be involved in sports or marketing in any way possible.”

With a successful first stint as a coach on his résumé, coaching opportunities will no doubt arise.

But before beginning his next chapter in life, Sarno is taking a trip to Thailand with his sister, who works at a zoo in Kansas City, Mo., and will be conducting research in the southeast Asian country. He’ll continue his work with the recreation department through the middle of June, and then it’s off to the big city.

But he won’t soon forget his time in the little town of Parachute.

“Overall, it’s been such a great experience for me,” he said. “(Grand Valley Activities Director) Dave (Walck) gave me a great opportunity.”


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