Hillary Arthur knew there would be a lot of work ahead when she accepted the position as head coach of the Western Nevada Community College women's soccer program on Jan. 18. At the same time, she is obviously excited not only about the prospect of being a head coach for the first time, but about being on the ground floor of building a brand new program.
"I was ready to be a head coach," she said. "It's a great opportunity to be a head coach and to start a new program. The community support has been great, as has the campus support."
Then again, the Northern Nevada soccer community has waited a long time for a program devoted to accommodating high school graduates who want to continue their education and to continue with their sport close to home. Since girls soccer was introduced in Northern Nevada in the early 1990s - other than the University of Nevada's Division I, which started in 2000 - high school graduates have had to go out-of-state in order to play soccer.
It all will become reality when WNCC kicks off its inaugural season on Aug. 27-28 in Eureka, Calif., with two games at the College of the Redwoods. The Wildcats are scheduled to debut at home with their own Labor Day Classic on Sept. 2-4.
Arthur described the WNCC program as a win-win situation for local area athletes.
"There are other options to Division I," she said. "Not everyone is ready for Division I, especially coming right out of high school, and community colleges are one of those options. I know I would rather go to a community college and play right away rather than go to a Division I school and sit on the bench. Being here at WNCC, they can use their millennium scholarships, and we do offer limited athletic scholarships, that can be used toward their education, so it's really a great deal.
"There is obviously a great pool of talent here. You can tell that by the number of seniors who have gone on to play at community colleges and at Division I schools."
Arthur knows the routine first-hand. After graduating from Del Mar High School in San Jose, she played four years at Humboldt State and served as team captain three of those years. Afterward, she went to Chico State to pursue her undergraduate work and found her passion to be with coaching. She spent four seasons between 2001 and '04 as an assistant coach at the school before accepting the WNCC post.
Obviously, a new college team doesn't just show up on the field by magic.
"There is so much behind-the-scenes work," Arthur said. "You get to know all of the intricate details."
Just to name a few, Arthur has been busy recruiting players ... setting up a schedule ... arranging to have uniforms and balls, a storage shed to keep equipment on the field. She has even been involved with the design of the field, which is currently under construction on the south end of the WNCC campus.
There is no target date for completion of the soccer complex, which will include three full-sized soccer fields, but she said it possibly could be ready for use this fall. If not, the Wildcats will play their home games at Edmonds Sports Complex.
Arthur will be excited to see the WNCC's "Field of Dreams" soccer complex completed.
"It's going to be similar to the one at UCSD (University of California-San Diego), a sunken field with concrete steps and seating that lead down to field level," she said.
Here's a tip to WNCC women's soccer recruits - those steps will be used for running during drills. And fans can look for Arthur's teams to be well-conditioned.
"I was also the strength and conditioning coach at Chico, so we are going to be a strong team as well as well-conditioned," she said. "We're going to have a fitness test the first day of practice. I'm calling it YBMI - that's for You Better Make It."
Arthur is a coach who plans to lead by example. Just consider that in addition to her current work in putting together the WNCC program, she has taken on part-time work as an exercise specialist at St. Mary's Hospital in Reno. And on Super Bowl Sunday, 2004, she ran a half-marathon in San Francisco - finishing in 1 hour, 45 minutes and 7 seconds, or 8-minute mile pace.
"If I'm going to be the head coach, I've got to be in shape," she said flashing a smile.
Arthur also has some ambitious goals for the WNCC team. Among those, she wants to field a team that is more than competitive in its conference, which at this moment, looks like it will be the Scenic West Athletic Conference. That's a considerable goal considering Dixie State College of Utah finished fifth at the NJCAA national tournament last season.
"I want to be a contender for the conference championship," she said. "The competition is going to be very high. One of our rivals is going to be Dixie State ... they've been to the national finals several times and won it more than once."
Arthur has more in mind, too.
"I would also like to develop some summer camps for kids, though that might be a year away. But I'd like to get out and put on clinics where we'd teach skills and techniques and to let the young girls in the community meet our players and to give them role models."
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.
2005 WNCC SOCCER SCHEDULE
Aug. 27-28 Interstate Tournament
Saturday College of The Redwoods TBA College of The Redwoods, Eureka CA
Sunday Southern Oregon TBA College of The Redwoods, Eureka CA
Sep 2-4 Labor Day Classic
Sept. 2 Friday Feather River College TBA Carson City
Sept. 4 Northern Idaho College* TBA Carson City
Sept. 8 Thursday Dixie State College* TBA Carson City
Sept. 16 Friday Salt Lake Community College* TBA Salt Lake Community College
Sept. 24 Saturday Colorado Mountain College* TBA Colorado Mountain College
Sept. 30 Friday Dixie State College* TBA Dixie State College
Oct. 9 Saturday Northern Idaho College* TBA Northern Idaho College
Oct. 13 Thursday Salt Lake Community College* TBA Carson City
Oct. 22 Saturday Colorado Mountain College* TBA Salt Lake Community College
For more information about the women's soccer program contact Coach Hillary Arthur at (775) 445-4264 or email email@example.com.