Renato Bustamante, a former collegiate All-American who went on to play professionally, has been named College of the Sequoias' men's soccer coach.
Giants athletic director Brent Davis said Bustamante's relationship-building skills and impressive resume elevated him over a strong group of applicants to replace Scott Rogers, who stepped down after six seasons at COS.
"He has unbelievable pedigree, with the respect of the soccer community," Davis said. "The student-athletes around here are going to recognize him, and he's a guy they are going to want to play for. I'm really excited. I think Renato will breath new life into our program, and COS is going to become a place kids want to come and play."
Bustamante, 29, arrives with local community college coaching experience after being an assistant for the Clovis Crush -- COS' Central Valley Conference rival -- the past four seasons.
The native of Lima, Peru, has become a fixture in central San Joaquin Valley soccer circles while playing for Fresno Pacific University (2013-2015), the Fresno Fuego (2015, 2017) and Fresno FC (2018-2019). Bustamante was three-time team MVP, a PacWest Conference Player of the Year and an NCAA Division II All-American for Fresno Pacific, and a two-time Premier Development League all-conference selection for the Fuego.
Bustamante has also spent two years coaching age-group teams -- 10U, 14U and 16U -- for Clovis-based California Odyssey Soccer Club, and was recently named the Director of Coaching for Visalia-based South Valley United Soccer Club.
“I’m extremely thankful, excited, honored and optimistic about this opportunity,” Bustamante said. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to take over a program and implement some ideas I’ve accumulated from my experiences playing and coaching.”
Bustamante takes over a COS team that went 5-13-2 overall and 2-6-0 in the Central Valley Conference last season.
The Giants are 59-150-33 overall and 13-64-8 in conference play since launching the program in 2007. COS has only three winning seasons in the program's 13-year history, and has never reached the postseason.
"We're coming here to change the culture and mentality, to make it a winning program," Bustamante said. "I envision a COS program where local players want to go because they know they will improve as players, and understand that they will be in a safe environment to develop character and academic habits which they will carry on into whatever path they follow.”
Bustamante said there is plenty of talent in COS' primary recruiting area of Tulare and Kings counties to turn the program around. His challenge will be to get the top local players to choose the Giants.
"Understanding the Valley after being here for so long, I always saw COS as a sleeping giant because I believe in the talent of the kids in this area," Bustamante said. "The reputation and results this program has gotten, I don't think has reflected that. Once the job opened, I thought it was a perfect chance to create a winning culture where it's never been done before.
"The talent level in Visalia, Porterville, Farmersville, Lindsay, Tulare, Reedley and all the neighboring cities around COS makes me extremely optimistic that we can have a great program here."
Bustamante offers a unique pitch to local recruits -- he's played junior college soccer, too, and used it as a stepping stone to a four-year university and a professional career. Bustamante holds a U.S. Soccer National C coaching license and is multilingual, fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
"I understand the journey it takes not only in the sport but academically," Bustamante said. "I feel it's important for kids to have someone like me as a role model who used soccer as a way to get an education and become a better human being."
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