Smith named Douglas soccer coach
Rick Smith’s dedication to soccer can be seen in the one word on his automobile license plate.
It simply reads, “GOOOALL.”
And now Smith is preparing to reach for some new goals in his new role as head coach of the Douglas High School girls soccer program. And he is ready for the challenge.
“I’m over the top excited,” he said this week. “I’ve coached a lot of these girls since they were freshmen and now they’re seniors, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
Smith, the program’s JV coach the last three years, is stepping up to replace Werner Christen as head coach. Christen announced last month that he was stepping aside in order to focus on his work as head coach of the Tigers’ girls basketball program.
Douglas compiled a 52-16-4 record in three seasons during Christen’s three seasons as soccer coach, highlighted by Sierra League and region tournament championships in 2014, in addition to state tournament appearances in 2014 and ’15. The Tigers are coming off a 2016 season in which they went 10-8-1 and lost 2-1 in double overtime against McQueen in the first-round of the region tournament.
Douglas has never missed out on the postseason since girls soccer became an officially sanctioned sport in 1993.
Smith is making no promises, however, he has good reason to be optimistic based on the number of returnees coming back from last year.
“I have high expectations,” Smith said. “I don’t know what we’ll do, but we should have a good season.”
Smith and the Tigers are not relaxing during their summer break, by any means. The girls program’s alumni game is scheduled to be played on July 18 at 6 p.m. on the high school soccer field, followed by its annual summer soccer camp on July 26-28 (see related information).
“It’s always nice to have the alumni come back and show the younger girls that they can still play and have a good time,” Smith said.
Smith also noted the Tigers have their tentative season opener scheduled for Aug. 22 against Truckee. The Wolverines went 22-1 last year, losing only to Galena, on their way to winning Northern and state 3A championships.
Smith, a retired CPA who moved to Carson Valley from Southern California, did not grow up with soccer. His introduction to the sport, in fact, actually came through a friend.
“I got started almost 35 years ago, maybe a little bit more, when a friend of mine asked me to help him coach his 7-year-old boy,” he recalled. “He didn’t know anything about it and I didn’t know anything about it, and it’s kind of taken off from there. A bunch of my nieces and nephews played, and then my kids, and it just kept going.”
Anyone who talks with Smith soon realizes how passionate he is about soccer. Oh, and it’s called futbol. And the game is played on the “pitch,” not a field.
“I’m an aficionado,” Smith said, laughing when asked about the comparisons. “And I really enjoy the sport.”