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Meet the new coach of the El Paso Locomotive ahead of their home opener Saturday

EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Locomotive began their fourth season, and this year they have a new head coach, John Hutchinson.

Hutchinson grew up in the small town of Morwell in south-east Victoria, about 92 miles east of Melbourne in Australia.

There he says he would often skip school with his mates to play soccer, or as he likes to call it, football.

"There wasn't much to do where I was from, but we always had football and a patch of grass, and that's all you needed, really," Hutchinson said.

At age 16, his dream of becoming a professional soccer player became a reality. Then at 17, he officially made his debut.

"I remember going on, and that's all I remember," Hutchinson said. "The next 20 minutes, I just don't even remember."

Hutchinson went on to play professionally for another 19 years, even playing internationally for Malta, where his mom's side of the family is from.

"Mom obviously loved that, and then the football was just always something they loved watching and supporting," Hutchinson said.

Following in his Dad's footsteps, Hutchinson started coaching at a young age, but it wasn't until he had an ACL injury in 2006 that he found his love and passion for it and realized it's what he wanted to do when he hung up the cleats.

"Playing football, I describe it like driving a bus and coaching is like flying a plane so it doesn't mean that because you played the game you can coach, but it also doesn't mean you can't either, but they're two completely different jobs," Hutchinson said.

Since he stopped playing, Hutchinson has coached for seven years in Australia, Japan and the U.S., mostly as an assistant coach.

"I just thought it was time to come out and be the head coach," Hutchinson said.

Now he's at the helm of the Locomotive, after taking over from Mark Lowry - the only other coach in the franchise's history.

"I don't believe in a rebuild year," Hutchinson said. "I always just concentrate on the football and what I actually want to achieve with the team and what our goals are. Outside pressure is outside, we can't control that, obviously, the club is desperate for a championship we know that."

During his playing career, Hutchinson captained the Central Coast Mariners to their first-ever title, and now as a coach, he gets the chance to try and do the same for the Locomotive.

"Everyone has to play their part for a successful season, you may have a bit of luck here and there, but that'll run out," Hutchinson said.

The Locos and Hutchinson kick off their home campaign on Saturday at Southwest University Park. You can buy tickets here for as little as $10.

There will be a postgame fireworks show, and if you're one of the first 3,000 fans at the stadium, you'll get a free flag.

Rachel Phillips

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