Rancho Santa Fe Attack Director of Coaching thrives on a decades-long career in San Diego sports

It’s an early Friday morning and Malcolm Tovey has a brief break. With his multitude of current positions, from being the varsity soccer coach for The Bishop’s School, the Director of Coaching for the Rancho Santa Fe Attack and a physical education teacher at The Nativity School (just to name just three), breaks aren’t that easy to come by. “I love doing all of these jobs,” said Tovey with pep in his voice. “I don’t have to do them. I want to do them. As I get older, I’m going to have to make decisions to cut down on the workload, but at the moment I’m enjoying doing it all.”

Tovey’s stacked schedule is nothing new. He’s been a force in the San Diego sports scene since he emigrated from his native England to Southern California in 1978 to take advantage of a soccer scholarship offered by San Diego State University. “My father was a professional soccer player for Bristol City,” he says of his athletic origins. “So I was very athletic while in school.”

Tovey isn’t kidding. While in his native country, Tovey was the captain of the soccer, cricket, chess and track and field teams. When he came upon the opportunity to come to San Diego, he had only known about California from television. “Growing up in England, we used to watch shows set in LA so I had a little bit of an idea about it. It was like Disneyland to us; beautiful blue skies, wonderful weather, and all the beaches.”

Tovey always knew he wanted to do something athletic for the rest of his life (“I was told at an early age, try to do something you really enjoy for your career”), and he had his sights set on either playing soccer professionally or becoming a physical education teacher. Those two goals merged when he was asked to coach at La Jolla High School in the late ’70s. “Then I was asked to help out at the Surf Soccer Club, which had just started.” (Tovey left Surf for Rancho Santa Fe Attack in 1997 after 13 years at the helm.)

For Tovey, what guided him through his time first at Surf, and now at Rancho Santa Fe Attack and Bishop’s, is one simple sentiment. “I don’t feel like I’m ever doing work,” he stresses. “I feel like I’m outside playing sports with kids. I don’t feel like I have to get up and go to work in the morning. I feel like I get up to go have fun. I love teaching and I have some ultra competitive soccer teams who play at the highest level.”

A plethora of Tovey’s teams have won championships and many of his former student athletes have gone onto greatness beyond North County. “Soccer opens doors that may not be open for them otherwise,” Tovey explains.

Tovey credits one major facet of his and his Rancho Santa Fe soccer team’s success to the Rancho Santa Fe Association. “We are indebted to them,” he notes. “They’ve been tremendously supportive of the local soccer program, and without them we wouldn’t be here.”

Now, a handful of weeks into another school year and sports season, Tovey is looking forward to seeing what’s ahead for his various athletes and teams. “I now coach the children of kids I used to coach. It sounds ridiculous that it doesn’t make me feel old, because it makes me feel good. I’ve had a relationship with these people for 30 years.”

Adds Tovey, “I feel very very fortunate that I love what I do so much.”

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