After winning three state championships, with Final Four appearances in seven of eight seasons, as head boys soccer coach of St. Thomas Episcopal, Chris White was ready for something different.
So, when The Woodlands Christian Academy athletic director Randy Hollas phoned White, 35, to inquire about the Warriors' boys soccer head coach opening, White jumped at the chance.
"I've always had an eye on it," White said. "Growing up, when it came to soccer, the two places I always heard of were Kingwood and The Woodlands. A breeding ground for athletes of all kinds, and soccer is one of the main sports. When they first built the turf field, they lined it for soccer. Since then, I've paid attention.
"When they called me up, it was a no-brainer."
White had grown complacent in downtown Houston. He felt he'd done all he could do at St. Thomas Episcopal, where he won 144 of 175 games in eight years. He desired a greater challenge and a move closer to his home in Spring.
He found all of that at TWCA.
"The program being so young, going into its third year, is exciting," White said. "I can create a culture change from the get-go and build something special. Being in the Final Four and making the playoffs last year, they've been successful, but this will be an opportunity to really prove that I know what I'm doing. I can tweak it and make it my own."
White was born in England, but his family moved to Houston in 1994 because of his father's career in the oil and gas industry. He attended Northeast Christian Academy in Kingwood. He went to the University of Texas at Tyler and St. Edward's University before settling at the University of Houston. A torn ACL derailed hopes of a collegiate soccer playing career, but White did play club soccer at UH.
White plans to employ a possession-based style of play, getting opponents out of position and looking to attack once they are. However, he adapts his philosophies to the talent of his roster. For instance, White used to be a defensive-minded coach at St. Thomas Episcopal before the type of talent he had forced him to reconsider his ways.
White also has established strong relationships with many of the club teams around the Houston area.
He's also familiar with the TWCA talent, such as junior midfielder Kyle Jasek (11 goals and 13 assists in 2021) and sophomore goalkeeper Bruno Bobato. White's St. Thomas Episcopal team played TWCA in the Final Four two years ago.
"The good thing about TWCA is they have athletes," White said. "A lot of it has to do with their strength and conditioning program. You can teach an athlete how to be a soccer player. You can't teach a non-athlete how to be an athlete. It's a school that wins multiple championships, and it's going to be fun and a challenging time for me."