Jaime Ibarra knew as a child he wanted to become a professional soccer player. So, when his family moved to Duncanville prior to his freshman year of high school, he tried out for the school team.
“Being on the team was something that helped me in making friends and building relationships with people I’m still friends with today,” Jaime said.
Jaime played goalkeeper for Duncanville High School’s varsity team. He also played for a club team which took him to other cities – and ultimately to Argentina to play for six months during his junior year of high school.
Jaime credits his high school history teachers for encouraging his interests. After graduating from Duncanville High School in 2009, Jaime studied for a year at Mountain View College and then transferred to Southern Methodist University to study history – and to play soccer.
When he graduated from SMU, Jaime got an opportunity to play two years of professional soccer first in Puerto Rico and then in Costa Rica.
“I was living the dream – just graduating college, playing soccer for a living making just enough money to get by,” Jaime remembers. “It was an unbelievable experience being in two beautiful countries and getting to wake up every day and play soccer for a living.”
Jaime says he enjoyed the beach life on the islands where he described the people as lively and the food as good even though it was different from his experience growing up in a Mexican-American household.
As nice as it was, Jaime decided his professional soccer life wasn’t sustainable both because of the limited income and distance from home, so he made a difficult decision and came home to get his master’s degree in bilingual education at SMU.
Jaime’s new goal didn’t take him far from the soccer field. Following graduate school, he landed his first coaching job at Mountain View College. And, in June of 2019, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro hired Jaime as an assistant coach working with the team’s three goalkeepers.
“I played the position my entire life and being able to work with a small group allows me to focus on them individually,” Jaime said. “We’re really a tight group, and I’m able to help them develop both on and off the field.”
Jaime hopes one day to become head coach of a college soccer team. He knows those opportunities could take him any number of places but he and his wife, whom he met while studying at SMU, would love the opportunity to come back to the Dallas area.
“For us, Texas is home,” he said.