Voices of Making Waves: Meet Alexis Argueta and Barry Argueta
For Barry Argueta – the head coach for Making Waves Academy’s boys soccer team – soccer is more than just a game. It’s a way of building community, a way to give back, and a way of spending quality time with family.
Barry Argueta started coaching the team when his son, Alexis Argueta, was a sophomore at Making Waves Academy’s almost brand-new upper school. “I believed that what the school was doing for my son was so good in terms of academics, I wanted to give back something in return,” he shared.
All in the family
Alexis Argueta was a part of Making Waves Academy’s first-ever 5th grade class. He graduated from Making Waves in 2015, went on to attend and graduate from the University of San Francisco, and currently works at an immigration law office in Oakland.
He also joined his father on the sidelines at Making Waves Academy as an assistant coach.
“Soccer balances my life because it brings me the opportunity to have my son close to me. Being close to my son is one of my priorities, so soccer pretty much became our priority together,” shared Barry Argueta.
The team’s other assistant coach, Mario Garcia, is also a parent of a Making Waves Academy graduate. In addition to their familial connections to the school, the three coaches each bring their own perspectives and approaches to the team.
“Among the three coaches, we really focus on separate aspects and work very cohesively,” Alexis Argueta said.
“Depending on the players, each coach works with particular students,” Barry Argueta described. “I believe that the most important thing is the players’ attitudes. You can have really good players but if they don’t have the right mindset, you know you won’t be able to go far.”
“When you have your team motivated and you know everybody is playing for the team, it’s easy to put the system in place,” he said.
Building a championship season
Over his decade of being involved with Making Waves, Barry Argueta has seen the school itself go from a few buildings to an entire state-of-the-art campus. Likewise, he has grown the boys soccer team from a brand new program into a championship winning one.
Though there were a lot of uncertainties given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this past fall 2021 season culminated in the team winning their first-ever California North Coast Section title. Not only did the Making Waves team win the title, they traveled 250 miles to upset Fortuna High School – the team that had won the title for the previous three years and hadn’t lost a game since September 2018.
Triumphantly winning with a score of 4-1, the team has now set a new course for Making Waves Academy after several past appearances in the finals without victory.
“I have been here since we started going to the North Coast Section final,” Alexis Argueta shared at a pep rally on campus. “I played in the first final that we made it to, and we lost. And then I started on as a coach, and we lost. But then this year, it finally happened. I want to congratulate the boys. I’m really proud of them. They definitely earned it.”
Another constant for the program has been Athletics Director Jeff Hazel. “Mr. Hazel has been here since we started. He’s been here persisting and fighting and believing and supporting,” Alexis Argueta said.
“Our soccer players and coaches are very passionate about their sport and keep trying to do their best to represent themselves, their family, the school, past teams, and the Richmond community, so I’m very happy for all of their hard work and success,” Hazel shared.
More than a game
Over the years, Barry Argueta has seen the impact the game of soccer can have on building life skills.
“The program is probably 35% soccer and 65% life lessons, like school, family, emotions, doing the right thing, like teamwork and sharing, and, you know, feeling proud of who they are,” he said.
Alexis Argueta shared a similar sentiment, having gone from a player to a coach and a mentor. “I’ve seen a lot of these guys grow and so I think that it’s rewarding to help them grow—not just on the soccer field but academically and in life as well,” he said.
“I’m sure I would have been very happy to have won the title when I was playing but I think it was more rewarding as a coach,” he added. “I wouldn’t have traded this experience.”
Even better for Alexis Argueta was getting to share the championship moment with his father.
The program has also impacted a community of Making Waves alumni who continue to keep in touch and root for the team. “Even though we’ve lost in the past, it helped build this culture and community,” Alexis Argueta said. “We had players when we won call alumni and tell them: ‘We did this for you guys.’ I thought that was beautiful.”
This Voices of Making Waves storytelling series spotlights the voices and journeys of the students, alumni, teachers, coaches, and more members of our Making Waves Foundation and Making Waves Academy communities — and highlights our work in creating educational opportunities that change lives.
About Making Waves Academy
Making Waves Academy is a public charter school committed to rigorously and holistically preparing students from Richmond, California, and the surrounding areas for college, career, and life success. The school’s enrollment stands at more than 1,100 students and 100% of its graduates meet the requirements for admission to University of California and California State University campuses.
November 14, 2023