BEEVILLE – In 2006, Felicia Soza’s checklist of goals featured a line about leading the Beeville Lady Trojan basketball team to the regional tournament for the first time in program history.
She was able to check that off.
Her name has since changed to Felicia Ramirez and she’s now a mom to three.
Yet, earlier this month, she yet again added a trip to the regional tournament to her checklist of goals.
The 2006 A.C. Jones alumnus is Beeville’s new girls athletics coordinator and head girls basketball coach.
“It excites me coming back here more than anything because I played on that same floor, I had those same feelings that the kids have,” Ramirez said about returning to helm the Beeville girls program. “I feel like I can really relate to them and give them an idea of the experiences I had. I want them to enjoy it the way I did.
“Two of the best years I had playing basketball were here in Beeville.”
It will be Ramirez’s second stint as a head coach. She previously served as the head girls basketball coach at Sinton for three seasons from 2013-16.
Her Lady Pirate teams twice made the playoffs and won the program’s first bi-district title in more than two decades.
“It was my first head coaching position and it was special, but, there was something missing,” she said about her time in Sinton.
That missing piece was family.
In Beeville, her father, Chris Soza, is the athletic director and head football coach and her brother Eric is the football team’s offensive coordinator and the head boys track and field coach.
Eric’s classroom is just two doors down from Ramirez’s.
“Coming here, I get to work with my dad again and, Eric, I’ve never got to work with him. It’s fun,” she said. “In the hallways, in the classroom, (Eric is) two doors down; it’s like being young again. It’s fun.
“I come to work every day and I enjoy it.”
While she has been a head basketball coach before, it will be her first stint as a girls athletics coordinator.
She will take her love of family to that role, she said.
“We’re Lady Trojan athletics. We’re not basketball athletics, we’re not softball athletics, we’re not volleyball athletics; we’re Lady Trojan athletics. We want to become a family,” she said.
“We want to bring everyone together. We want to build athletes, not just a basketball player, or a volleyball player. We want to encourage all of the kids to play any and every sport they want to play.”
Ramirez will replace Paul Yuma, who left to become the head girls basketball coach at Calallen after he was notified that he would not be retained as Beeville’s girls athletics coordinator and head girls basketball coach.
Yuma led the Lady Trojans to 108 wins and a pair of district championships over the past four years. His 2018-19 team matched Ramirez’s 2005-06 team with a trip to the regional tournament.
“I’m excited. I want that (challenge). I plan on continuing that tradition,” Ramirez said about taking over a program that has seen that level of recent success.
“The expectations are set high, which is great. It’s going to be a challenge on my mind, but I’m excited for it and happy about it.”
Ramirez’s first Lady Trojan squad will look significantly different than any of Yuma’s squads.
“We have quick guards. We’re not going to be as tall; we don’t have a Kamaria Gipson this year. We can’t rely on feeding the post all the time, so we’re going to have to figure out another way to score,” she said.
The style of play will change.
“We’re going to incorporate the dribble-drive and we’re going to have a motion offense as well,” Ramirez said. “For the most part, we’re going to run the floor and we’re going to score quick.”
Support from above
Ramirez will certainly have the full support of her boss.
“I’m very proud, No. 1. She’s a hard worker,” said her father and Beeville’s athletic director Chris Soza said.
“She’s done everything, from a dad, that you can be proud of. ... She’s very capable. She has a passion for sports. ... She just loves athletics. She’s good for the program.”
Ramirez said she thinks her relationship with the athletic director helps her relationship with the district’s other girls sports coaches.
“I’m their voice. I have that relationship with him. If he tells me no, then he tells me no,” she said.
“... On the girls side, I think sometimes they can be intimidated by the athletic director, but I have an advantage.
“I get my way most of the time,” she added with a laugh.
“As a dad, I’m very proud of her,” Chris said. “As an athletic director, I know we’re in good hands.”
Kevin J. Keller is the sports editor at the Bee-Picayune and the Advance-Guard and can be reached at 343-5223, or at sports@MySouTex.com, or follow him on Twitter, @beegoliadsports.