Norman North's Claros won a title as a player; now has chance again as a coach
In the final Norman High boys soccer game before the school district split and Norman North opened its doors, Geo Claros helped guide the Tigers to the 1997 state championship.
Thirteen years later, Claros will try to bring more glory to the city’s storied soccer history. This time, though, he won’t be playing, he’ll be coaching. And he won’t be wearing the orange and black of his alma mater, but the hunter green and silver of Norman North.
“It definitely feels different,” said the 31-year old of his new role. “But the goal isn’t.”
Norman North will square off with Jenks for the Class 6A championship Saturday at 3 p.m. at Broken Arrow High School.
In his first season as a head coach on the high school level, Claros has maintained the stout North soccer tradition, but he’s taken a different route than predecessors Don Rother and Bryan Young.
Young, who was an assistant under Gordon Drummond on that 1997 Norman team that Claros played for, started the North program in 1998. He delivered two state championships (2000 and 2003) before leaving and now is the Norman North principal. Rother, a player and assistant for Young, took over and took the T-Wolves to the 2008 state final.
From 2003 to 2009, North made it to at least the semifinals six of seven seasons. Still, Claros infused his own style when taking over this spring.
“There was definitely a period of the players getting used to me and the way I did things,” he said. “And it took some time before we developed that trust you need.”
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