Sullivan’s life-long pursuit

Cathie Lawrence
Coach Zach Sullivan talks to his team at practice.
This year has ushered in a completely revamped coaching staff for the Los Medanos College women’s soccer program. The college brought in Zach Sullivan as the head coach of the women’s soccer team Aug. 1 along with new assistant coach Sal Acevedo after parting ways with Mark Bryant, who held the head coach position for the past twelve years.
Sullivan’s played soccer his whole life leading up to his teens “so high school soccer was just the next step.”
Sullivan took that next step at Armijo High School in Fairfield where he was a team captain playing primarily at center midfield. He then finished at Armijo in 1998 finishing his high school career as an All-League MVP.   
As the door closed at Armijo High School, another opened at Napa Valley College, where Sullivan brought home the All-Conference award in 1999 and 2000.
Things were trending upward for Sullivan as he began playing semi-professionally in the Premier Arena Soccer League. However, a torn ACL changed his course from playing to coaching.
Sullivan chose to major in Kinesiology so he could keep in touch with the game, and would end up earning his United States Soccer Federation C class and National Soccer Coaches Association of America premier coaching licenses. He then transferred to Chico State where he continued to pursue his Master’s degree in Kinesiology.
He got his first coaching job at Justin-Siena High School as the men’s varsity coach. After just one year there, he became assistant coach for the women’s soccer program from 2005 to 2008. In 2007, he received an offer Lamorinda Soccer Club, where he worked as a club coach and technical coordinator for boys U11-U14 teams from until 2010.
Sullivan made his way to the Merritt College for men’s soccer from 2008 to 2015 and was named the Bay Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2013.
“It was awesome to win the BVC as I went through the growing pains of starting a college program in 2008 and continually kept building the program up,” said Sullivan.
He took another offer from Diablo FC as the director of coaching in 2011 and is still the director to this day.  Sullivan took the job at Los Medanos College as the new Head Coach for women’s soccer promising a different approach for the 2016 season.
“We like to start off improving. We aren’t looking for a state championship, and we can improve each game.”
Sullivan still resides in Fairfield and in addition to coaching at LMC, he is also the athletic director for Diablo FC. Working both jobs is something he describes as a lot of work, but hopes “to bring in some of the Diablo FC players into LMC when they enter into college.”
Acevedo also started playing soccer during his childhood years as it is in his blood from his Mexican heritage, he played high school at Hayward High School as a midfielder his junior year since he lived in Mexico with his family seven years prior.
After that he played at Chabot College while earning his Associates degree in Communication, going on to Saint Mary’s College for his Bachelor’s degree in Law Studies. After that, he went to pursue his coaching license for the United States Soccer Federation D class and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
After pursuing the coaching licenses, Acevedo went straight to coaching high school, helming Freedom High School men’s varsity in 2011. He went to Heritage Soccer Club in 2013 — where he still coaches — and received a promotion to Heritage Academy Director in 2014.
The Antioch resident is grateful for what he’s done to change soccer community around him and that he can be locally at LMC.
“We are here to make sure we improve and that there is a whole new program at Los Medanos and we are looking forward to it,” said Acevedo.
Despite a rough start to the season, Sullivan and Acevedo are looking at the big picture, hoping to turn Mustang soccer into a competitive program in the Bay Valley conference.