ESCONDIDO — San Pasqual High School boys soccer coach John Burson is this year’s San Diego Section representative for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) California State Coach of the Year award.
Burson has been a coach for 20 years, the past 17 at San Pasqual. He also coaches club soccer at San Diego Soccer Club and has coached with the Del Mar Sharks and FC Heat as well. He previously served as an assistant coach at Cal State San Marcos.
Burson’s teams at San Pasqual have won 10 league titles and appeared in six California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) finals, winning three championships. The Golden Eagles also have made five state appearances during his tenure. Burson was named CIF Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2021.
“Having known John for over 20 years, this recognition couldn’t go to a more deserving person,” said San Pasqual Athletic Director Andrew Clark. “His level of care for his players and our school is second to none.”
As the San Diego Section representative, Burson is eligible for state coach of the year honors. The recognition comes after San Pasqual won the Open Division San Diego CIF Championship title in the spring.
“It’s exciting to be recognized at this level,” Burson said. “My coaching staff and I put in a lot of time and effort into every season and to receive recognition for it feels great.”
Burson grew up in Escondido with a passion for sports, particularly soccer.
He played on the San Pasqual High soccer team before graduating in 2002 and began coaching the sport as a freshman in college. A few years later, he returned to his alma mater to teach the next generation of soccer players.
“For me it’s not just about soccer, it’s about helping these players develop as young men, teaching them leadership and how to work as a team,” he said.
Beyond his work as a soccer coach at the high school, Burson serves as a school counselor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Alliant International University and a master’s in school counseling from Walden University.
In both roles, Burson aims to help guide his students through a particularly challenging time in their lives.
“Being a teenager is difficult,” he said. “By wearing these different hats as a coach and a counselor, I’m really trying to help support students and their needs by building those connections and helping them navigate through these difficult times.”
San Pasqual High School Principal Cory Gregory said Burson is supporting students “all day, every day” in both of his roles as coach and counselor. Gregory also praised Burson as a long-time “fantastic and successful” coach for the school.
“I’ve worked with John for 15 years,” Gregory said. “It’s been great to watch him grow from a young soccer coach to becoming the local soccer coaching legend he is now.”