September 27, 2017
Sulema Tamez (right), the former Cypress Ridge High School girls soccer coach, is pictured with Cy Ridge alumna Daisy Rubio at the 2016 Regal Rams where Rubio shared how Tamez impacted her life. Tamez was recently recognized as 1 of 23 recipients of the inaugural United Soccer Coaches High School Coach of Significance Award, which acknowledges coaches that go above and beyond their position to teach life lessons both on an off the field.
Sept. 27, 2017—Sulema Tamez, the former girls soccer coach at Cypress Ridge High School, was among 23 recipients recently announced by United Soccer Coaches and its member group as winners of the first annual High School Coach of Significance Award.
The newly-created award acknowledges high school coaches that go above and beyond their coaching position to teach life lessons and provide opportunities for their athletes.
“When I started my coaching career, I never thought about me receiving any type of award. All I wanted to do was coach,” Tamez said. “I set out to encourage my athletes to strive for excellence in everything they do – on and off the field of competition. I wanted to be a positive influence on them just as my coaches had been a positive influence on me.”
Winners were nominated by a United Soccer Coaches member through an online process that included at least one letter of reference. Tamez was nominated by Casey Blades, the head girls soccer coach at Cypress Lakes High School who pointed to her colleague’s off-the-field philanthropic work.
Sulema serves as an official chairperson and host for Cy-Fair Relay for Life, an all-night fundraising walk hosted by the American Cancer Society to raise awareness and funds toward cancer research.
“If the only thing the athlete learns is how to play a sport – yet can’t successfully navigate through life – I have failed to take advantage of the time I have had to inspire, encourage and influence her,” said Sulema, a cancer survivor. “I want to make sure my girls are well-grounded, hard-working and prepared to deal with all of life’s challenges.”
She also created a district-wide cancer awareness night where each CFISD school collected money and each team wore matching shirts to honor the cause.
“Sulema is very humble about her accomplishments but she deserves to be recognized,” said Blades, who was recently named to the United State Coaches 30 Under 30 Program, a year-long education and mentorship coaching appointment. “She was an advocate for her soccer program and continues to advocate for underprivileged kids in general. Sulema truly models sportsmanship, selflessness and dedication on a daily basis.”
Each nomination was reviewed by the selection committee, which was comprised of national, regional and state representation. The 23 winners were recognized in Soccer Journal’s September/October edition. Tamez is the lone award recipient from Texas.
“Our group has worked very hard to find a way to recognize our high school coaches that focus their efforts on building relationships and coaching beyond the playing field,” said Greg Winkler, boys chair of the High School Coaches members group.
And for Tamez, the honor is just another piece of her journey in teaching and leading her students and players during and after high school.
“I am fortunate that I have been able to see my former players mature into brilliant young women,” she said. “Some are currently going to college while others are living their dreams as moms, teachers, coaches, accountants, police officers, medical assistants, doctors and business women. It is always fun to reminisce with my former players, catch up on current-day life and hear them say, ‘Thanks coach.’ Those are the extra-special days.”