Nichole Caiocca: Math Teacher by Day, Soccer Coach by night


Rafael Tagliari, Contributor

Growing up in Santa Cruz California, and having parents that were “sports fanatics,” Nichole Caiocca learned to love the game of soccer. Starting from when she played on a team when she was five years old, her love for the sport became a passion that never went away. 

Nichole Caiocca, a math teacher and varsity girls soccer coach at San Rafael High School, has made it her goal to coach and teach girls to love soccer the way she has. Starting off her soccer career at just 5 years old Caiocca started playing soccer for a rec team that her mom coached. “There weren’t very many girls but I got to play on the boys team,” she said. Because of this, she hasn’t stopped playing since. 

“There came a point in my life where I had to decide what sport to do,” she said, remembering when she entered high school and her various team practices were overlapping. “Growing up, I did soccer, basketball, golf, tennis, and volleyball.” She decided to stick with soccer and tried out for the Santa Cruz High School girls soccer team. She made varsity her freshman year. She was the only sophomore on the team. Caiocca found this a little scary when she started off, but once the season started the juniors and seniors adopted her into the team. She was very happy that her teammates treated her the same as any other player on the team and not just some random freshman. She believed that them adopting her was a big part of her mentality as a coach today, to make everyone feel included and part of the team.

Going to college, Caiocca did not have much knowledge about playing soccer in college. She thought that she could go to UCSB and try out for the soccer team but unfortunately for her UCSB did not have any open tryouts. “I had offers from schools that were really good at soccer but not academics and some that were really good academically but lacking in soccer.” This led to her getting her undergraduate degree at UCSB and not playing soccer for a long time. 

After graduating from UCSB with a math degree, Caiocca didn’t know what to do. She moved to the City and that’s where she heard that she should take some academy classes. She enrolled in the city college of San Francisco and that’s where she saw a poster for girls soccer tryouts. “I emailed the coach and told him that I was a lot older and that I didn’t know if I had eligibility, and he said yeah come to tryouts.” During the tryouts, she remembered being super out of shape and getting exhausted on simple passing drills. She was not sure if she was going to make the team but one of the girls told the coach that he needed to take her because she had a lot of potential. She had a lot of fun and ended up not going to grad school to continue playing soccer for one more year.

All of this led her to begin looking for schools to teach in the Bay Area. She knew about San Rafael because her cousin attended the school. She got interviewed by the school on Skype while she was in an internet cafe in Cambodia. “I was in Cambodia in an Internet cafe, like the people next to me were watching YouTube videos and I was doing a professional interview,” she said. She got hired as a math teacher and really enjoyed the job. She loved the community at San Rafael and really wanted to be a part of it.

“My experience with her as my coach has been great so far,” said Noelia Gramajo. “She always has this positive energy but at the same time can be strict because she wants the best from us.” Caiocca shows her passion for each player by really caring about what they have to say. She influences every player that she talks to to get better and makes them fall in love with the game.

A few years into teaching a spot opened up to coach the varsity girls team at San Rafael. Her friend Giuliana Silvestri, and her other friend Stefanie Farina began coaching the team. She really felt like she was improving the community and inspiring girls to play soccer which was her goal in the first place. Caiocca keeps a ball up in her room for the first time San Rafael girls soccer had a home game for NCS. She said that this was one of her favorite memories of coaching girls soccer.

Nichole Caiocca believed inspiring people was the most crucial part of coaching. More than winning, more than anything else getting kids to love soccer was her goal. Caiocca keeps striving to inspire and influence her players every day.