Roland Minder still lives and breathes soccer.
But after 23 years of coaching boys and girls soccer teams at Camas High School, the 63-year-old feels the time is right to step back from the boys program and find the right person to lead the Papermakers into the future on the soccer pitch.
“We come into this world kicking and screaming, and then we make a lot of noise, and then we leave. Everything has it’s time and season,” Minder said. “When I was hired, I was given two things to do. One, bring discipline to the program. And number two, make the program competitive. I think both of those have been accomplished.
“So now, after 23 seasons, I think the program is in good shape,” he added. “We have the next generation that’s ready to carry the program on. It’s just the right time.”
Minder has become a coaching legend at Camas. He led the boys to 348 wins, 18 league championships, 14 district championships, three state championships and 19 consecutive appearances in the state tournament.
“The success is good, but there’s a whole lot more to a program than the results on the field,” Minder said. “I had a wise person once tell me, ‘The success as a coach should not be measured by your wins and losses, but how many weddings you get invited to.'”
Minder has been to plenty of weddings. Some where former CHS girls and boys soccer players married each other.
“It’s all about building relationships,” he said. “The things that you remember most are the things you have emotional ties with.”
Although Minder receives a lot of gratitude for the ongoing success of the soccer programs at Camas High, he gives credit to the players and the coaching staff as a whole. He also thanks all the youth coaches and volunteers from the Camas-Washougal Soccer Club for starting this movement so many years ago.
“We don’t always have the best players in the area, but I feel that they buy into what has been established,” Minder said. “They understand the expectations, and they want those traditions to continue. A lot of it is pride, honoring the community and being a part of something bigger than themselves.”
The memories make Minder feel rich beyond his years. He won his first state championship with the girls in November of 2005. Six month later, he won his first state championship with the boys.
“That was quite phenomenal to have first the girls and then the boys win state that same school year,” Minder said. “The first time, it feels like an anomaly. You feel like, ‘Oh man, we’ll never get back here again.'”
The boys played in three more state championship games during Minder’s tenure, and won it all again in 2008 and 2011. Eleven seasons after that first title, the girls captured state championship number two in 2016 and finished as the No. 1 ranked soccer team in the nation on MaxPreps.
Minder will continue to teach German and French at the high school, and oversee the girls soccer program. His advice for the next boys coach is to hold on to the same traditions and values, and to keep moving those players and soccer balls forward.
“Just stay true to who we are. Make sure that your character counts more than your talent,” Minder said. “Understand that this is an extension of the classroom. After all, they’re ‘student’ athletes, not athlete-students. It’s all part of helping to build young men with integrity and good values and good character.”
After all these years of coaching, Minder still gives the mill town pep talk. He said a Papermaker punches and clock and never stops working until the final whistle blows.
Minder hopes former, current and future Papermakers never lose that mindset.