April 13, 2020
Hamilton's next coach, Nick Barker (third from right), turned Coronado into a championship soccer contender. (Photo by Mark Jones/MaxPreps.com)
One of the more successful small school soccer coaches in Arizona is making a big move.
Nick Barker is set to become Hamilton’s next boy’s coach, pending board approval. Barker built Coronado into a perennial contender as soon as he took over in 2013-14, winning three championships and going 104–26-12.
“It has been a whirlwind, but I feel very much secure in the direction where we are headed,” said Barker about his decision.
Working from home helped him, he said, evaluate his next coaching step as well as celebrate along with his wife the recent of arrival a baby boy.
But the coaching move is also bittersweet. Barker's connection with Coronado’s players and their families was strong.
“I’m leaving Coronado with a heavy heart but with a full heart,” he said. “We produced some of the best soccer there and memories in my life. The players gave me nothing but 100 percent. They were all in. They bought in from Day 1.
“It will always be a special place for me.”
Seventeen college players were developed during Barker’s tenure at the Scottsdale school.
It’s an accomplishment he is very proud of because of the sacrifices his players and working class families made to keep their boys playing.
“It was a four year investment,” Barker said. “They didn't see the return until they graduated.”
The coach’s high school roots are in Chandler.
He earned Small School Player of the Year honors after scoring 46 goals during his senior season in 2005 at Valley Christian. Barker’s brother, Paul, also played at Valley Christian and served on his brother’s coaching staff at Coronado.
At Hamilton, Barker is taking over an established state power. But he’s ready for the challenge.
“It’s an opportunity that presented itself,” he said. “There’s only a couple of places that you desire to take, and Hamilton was No. 1. It’s one of the elite programs in the state and has an opportunity to be elite in the nation. To have a chance to work with high level players who have the growth and potential to be leaders and impact the world, it’s something I couldn’t pass up.”