For Rafe Mauran, he's living proof that one can return to his old stomping grounds and still make a positive impact on the community.
The former long-time, now current Rockdale County resident, who previously lived in Spartanburg, S.C., is back in the neighborhood, serving as the director of coaching for the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association.
"A few years back, I was considering a job change and I got the best piece of advice I've ever heard from Jay Vidovich, the men's soccer coach at Wake Forest. He told me I needed to go where I could have the largest impact," said Mauran. "I feel like as the director of coaching at RYSA, I can have an impact on a huge number of kids as we try to instill a passion for the sport of soccer, develop our members into quality soccer players and most importantly, quality people. It is my hope that if we can provide this kind of experience to the youngsters in this community, Conyers and Rockdale County will also benefit."
Mauran, who grew up in Conyers playing soccer with RYSA, brings a vast knowledge of the game to his new position and plans to dive in head first with the job duties of his new position. Among the many strategic goals he plans to implement includes nurturing the blossoming talent at RYSA, not only from an athletic stand point, but as upstanding members of the organization and the county.
The entire staff at RYSA is full of joy at the hiring of Mauran and is optimistic about the future of the program under his direction.
"It‘s an exciting time for RYSA. We‘ve been without a director of coaching for months and he (Mauran) comes highly recommended," said Casey Black, RYSA club president. "He has knowledge of the game from being an assistant college coach. He's also coached at the club level for the last 10 years and he's going to be a great asset for us to guide the players to the next level"
Just like all humans, red blood flows through Mauran's veins and arteries; however, by looking through a powerful microscope, one is sure to see small soccer balls amidst his many cells.
Mauran lives and breathes the sport with an unyielding passion that his only matched by the love for his family. The 33-year-old has been involved with the game since he was six and plans to continue his role for as long as possible. After attending and playing at Woodward Academy High School in College Park, he enrolled at the University of the South (Sewanee) in Tennessee where competed on the field with the Tigers.
Upon graduating in 1999, he served as an assistant at Sewanee as well as at Springfield College in Massachusetts, Davidson College in North Carolina along with working at two schools in South Carolina, Wofford College and most recently Limestone College.
Having obtained so much knowledge over the past decade, Mauran hopes to share his experiences to all the players, parents, coaches and staff members at RYSA.
"It means a lot for me to be a part of this group. I started off here and discovered my passion for the game on these same fields. I am excited about the opportunity to be able to help our members discover the same love for the game. I am proud to call RYSA my home and I look forward to instilling that same feeling in everyone that is, or ever has been associated with RYSA," he said.
Mauran and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, a son Jackson, 8, and a newborn daughter, Sophie Hutchens, who entered their lives on Tuesday, April 28.