PROFILE: Life Beyond the Soccer Field


John Yorke in the middle amongst a few of his athletes. Taking a break from their intense practice.   PHOTO BY: KAYLIE ROZELL


Pacific Lutheran University may know the men’s soccer coach as solely a record-breaking coach for young athletes. Few recognize him as a fantastic teacher as well.

As a college soccer player at both Belhaven University and Pacific Lutheran University when John Yorke wasn’t occupied with soccer, he was focused on majoring in business. While playing for many years, Yorke’s career was brought to a halt when he unfortunately suffered an injury and was forced to stop playing soccer.

With such a heart-breaking event occurring, Yorke knew it was time for him to hang the cleats up and to center his focus on school. After much thought and consideration, Yorke realized that business just wasn’t for him, sprouting his future in social studies.

After Yorke graduated from PLU with his degree in social studies , he began applying it by teaching 10th-12th grade at Auburn High school at the age of 23.

While teaching at AHS, Yorke also began coaching soccer at the high school as well. Becoming more involved in coaching, he quickly realized this as his passion and decided to take his talents elsewhere. From there, Yorke become a coach at Green River Community College, Washington Premier Football Club and eventually PLU.

“I never really thought about being a teacher or a coach until I got injured,” said Yorke.

If he were to compare coaching to teaching, Yorke would admit that coaching is his favorite of the two because he cherishes the relationship he builds with the players and also doesn’t mind the idea of some competition as well.

Over the duration of his time as a coach Yorke has experienced when you like what you do, everything is going to be much more enjoyable. As well as this, he has also admitted that even in the classroom his head wanders back to soccer from time to time.

“I am in my class room thinking about what to do with the team,” Said Yorke.

Although soccer was Yorke’s first passion, he still loves being a teacher as well. From interacting with his students in an influential way to watching them be able to achieve their goals as they graduate, these are just some of the few reasons that he cherishes his teaching career so much.

From bouncing his focus around from teaching and coaching, Yorke doesn’t let the stress of managing the two time consuming jobs deter him from doing the best he can at both of them.

Over the years, he has developed strategies to accomplish what he wants for both teaching and coaching. From staying goal oriented, managing his time wisely and overall becoming an expert at what he does, Yorke has figured out a way to manage both of his passions in a way that is accomplishable for him.

Yorke has received a ton of respect and acknowledgement from those around him regarding his work ethic and his dedication to his students and players. Many of the kids influenced by him would admit that he shows a ton of pride in what he does. From the classroom to the soccer field, Yorke gives it his all and never stops showing his positivity and encouragement.


Yorke giving Oliger a hug after winning their match. Yorke cherishes every moment on the field and with his team. PHOTO COURTESY OF TROY-MIKAL OLIGER

Senior Captain Troy- Mikal Oliger said, “John is an all around great guy and I am so thankful to be a part of this program and to be coached by him.”

If there is one thing to take from all of this, it’s that Yorke loves both teaching and coaching and does a great job at both. As if an example was even needed to prove this, Yorke was just recognized for his 150th win, making him the coach with the most wins in PLU men’s soccer history.

As for the future, Yorke plans on continuing both career paths and using the skills he has developed from both teaching and coaching to continue his success.

If you would like to see Yorke in action, come to PLU men’s soccer’s last game for this season on November 7th at 6 p.m. to watch them take on their rivals University of Puget Sound on senior night.


Categories: Academics, Other, Parkland, Profile, Sports

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