The hunt may become rather difficult to fill the shoes of departing Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School soccer coaches Bill James (boys) and Cheryl Monthony (girls).
Both coaches worked with their respective teams out of love of the game as their seasons always extended far beyond the PIAA high school season. They didn't miss a beat following the season and had the girls involved in indoor play, followed by entering teams in the PA West travel league in spring and summer clinics.
This makes for a very long year as coach, but both did so to help develop their teams and gain playing experience as a unit for the fall season in the rugged Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference. Many of the top LHAC squads have numerous classic players dotting their high school rosters and are truly talent laden.
The year-round efforts of James and Monthony, however, paid dividends as they were reaching competitive levels in the conference. James, in particular, lost some very tight games during the past season. Neither coach has ruled out the possibility of stepping back into the coaching ranks at some point in the future.
It will be difficult to find someone to step forward, at the current salary range, and be willing to give nearly a year-round effort to stay competitive. Already they have missed winter indoor leagues and didn't post teams in the spring travel league.
The other difficulty comes with the size of the limited numbers of student athletes at BG. It is hard to maintain enough players to field a solid team, with tennis, volleyball and cross country all vying for participants. Some girls over the years have doubled up sports in the fall, but that is a really difficult task and not many can pull it off.
The administration may have a long hard search on their hands in the way of finding replacements for both coaches.
Mount needs women's coach
At Mount Aloysius College, where the untimely death of women's coach Barry Snyder shocked the soccer community, a replacement with the same level of dedication and work ethic may be hard to find.
Snyder had built the team up from a squad that was routinely pummeled by a half-dozen goals or more every game to one that was in contention during every game. He did this, not by trying to recruit big in the Pittsburgh area, but by drawing strong local talent from Blair and Cambria schools. The school will have its hands full in finding a coach this qualified again.
USA women's schedule set
On the international scene, the 16 teams participating in the upcoming Women's World Cup matchup are set for action. The USA landed in Group C and will start by facing Korea on June 28 then challenge Columbia on July 2 and finish group play out with Sweden on July 6 battling it out for a berth in the quarterfinals. The matchups are interesting, and soccer fans should be able to view some spectacular play.
Tom Schmitt's soccer column appears monthly in the Mirror.