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Flores steps down from West Fargo girls' soccer

West Fargo High School girls' soccer will join rival Fargo South in the search for a new head coach this off-season, as longtime leader Jim Flores has announced his retirement from the school side of the sport.

Flores, who joined the program in 1997, led the Packers to two fourth-place finishes in the North Dakota State Soccer Tournament, including a fourth-place finish this season, which was the most successful year for the squad ever in terms of wins and losses.

"We had a lot of senior leadership, and really thought we had a shot to win the East Region this season," Flores said at the close of the year. "We knew we could compete with anybody."

The other fourth place finish came in 2003, and later that summer, Flores took the West Fargo Soccer Association's U-16 team to a state championship, a first for the program. He was named Competitive Coach of the Year by the state that season.

The second coach in the program's history, Flores was Coach of the Year for North Dakota back in his rookie season. He took the reins from Andy Steele, who coached both the Packer boys' and girls' teams at the time.

"He's a good, solid coach and a very dedicated guy who has done a lot for the sport here in West Fargo," Curt Jones, activities director at West Fargo High School, said. "It's a pretty big loss."

Flores has made soccer a family affair in the summer. Involved heavily with the West Fargo Soccer Association and traveling teams, he has taken over the U-11 squad. His wife, Colleen, is serving as the WFSA Coordinator this season.

"I think the interest is there and the program is in good shape," Flores said two seasons ago at the outset of the year. "We have a school that's growing, and if we can get more and more people involved in the summer program, they'll get experience early and come to the high school program with some knowledge of how to play the game. That wasn't the case when we started years ago. So the summer program and the school program have very much so worked hand-in-hand."

Jones said the school will look for a new coach throughout the summer. Assistant coaches for Flores include former Packer boys' standout Jon Melendez, Scott Flores and JV coach Laura Bartsch.