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Garces announces Walker-Kobayashi as new girls soccer coach

Garces Memorial High School is pleased to announce the hiring of Kristy Walker-Kobayashi as the new girls soccer coach.

Walker replaces Cailtin Thompson, who stepped down after seven seasons as the Rams head coach.

“Kristy has a wealth of knowledge and expertise coaching soccer at a very high level,” Garces Memorial Athletic Director Gino Lacava said. “Her positive outlook and drive will surely impact our program for years to come.”

A Bakersfield native, It’s a homecoming of sorts for Walker-Kobayashi and her family.

Her first head coaching job was the girls soccer program at Garces in the late 1990s. The 1991 Bakersfield High graduate is also the daughter of a Garces alum. Her mother, Barbara (Echenique) Walker, graduated in 1967.

“I am excited to give back to the community and school that started my head coaching career,” Walker-Kobayashi said. “I am excited to coach the student-athletes that I see every day. They are very eager and a great group of girls. I really enjoyed this season coaching under Coach Thompson and am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the program this season.”

Thompson will remain on campus at Garces as the Director of Student Activities.

“We would like to thank Coach Thompson for her years of dedication to our girls soccer program,” Lacava said. 

Walker-Kobayashi was hired as the Learning Center Director at Garces in August, helping students on campus to find their best potential in the classroom and being a link between teachers and students.

Walker spent this past season as an assistant coach for the Rams under Thompson. Prior, she spent 10 years as the girls soccer head coach at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth where Walker was the director of soccer operations, girls soccer coach and the head of physical education while also running one of the top girls soccer club teams in California.

During her tenure at Sierra Canyon, the Trailblazers won eight league titles, two Southern Section titles and two CIF SoCal regional state championships in 2015 and 2017.

“I hope to continue the tradition of excellence with the girls soccer program at Garces,” Walker-Kobayashi said. “This is a fantastic place to be and I am ready to see where this program can go.” 

Before Sierra Canyon, Walker-Kobayashi was at Cal State Bakersfield as a graduate assistant under Simon Tobin before spending six years as an assistant coach at Pepperdine University, where she was in charge of recruiting and the top academic advisor for the women’s soccer program, which consisted of making sure all of her student-athletes were successful in the classroom. 

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