Andrew Chadwick knew he was retiring at the beginning of the 2011 season, and he coached Green Hope to its first boys’ soccer state championship.
Richard Huxford replaced him in 2012 and also won the 4A state title.
Now Huxford has stepped down and local youth coach Michael Hoy has stepped in. The Falcons are aiming for a three-peat under three different head coaches, and the lofty goal is a reasonable one.
Last year’s title seemed unlikely with the Falcons graduating all but two bench players from the 2011 title, but Green Hope went 24-2.
The good news for Hoy, other than stepping into a program that is 49-3 over the past two seasons, is that he won’t have to try to replace 11 starters. Nine are coming back.
“In a good way, it’s overwhelming. There’s just so much talent and it’s super-rich in recent tradition and the expectations are through the roof,” Hoy said. “For a coach, it’s an incredible challenge and an incredible situation to come into.”
Hoy has lived in Durham for two years. He went to the University of Maryland and has worked for third-division team Real Maryland Monarchs. He has also been involved with CASL, coaching players from 9-year-old boys to 18-year-old girls.
He’s no stranger to the Green Hope program. He watched several of last year’s games with a rooting interest – his cousin is returning co-captain Sam Rauf.
Rauf and fellow senior, midfielder Kalvin Kromer (five goals, eight assists), return from the first-team all-conference list.
“We talked about how we would manage something like that, because I have known him his whole life,” Hoy said. “But Sam is one of the more mature seniors I think I’ve ever met, and I think our relationship will be no different than any relationship I have with a player on the team.”
Midfielder MacLean Holbrook (five goals, 14 assists), a junior, was the catalyst for last year’s team. Forwards Zack Compton (14 goals) returns as well.
Goalkeeper Sam Bissett, a senior, was the MVP of the 4A title game and has committed to Davidson College.
“When it comes to mentality and attitude, this team is not going to look any different from the team we had last year. This is a group that has not settled on what they did last year,” Hoy said.
Apex (16-5-1, 13-2-1) ended last year ranked fourth in The News & Observer rankings. The Cougars will return three all-conference players in seniors Robert Smith, a midfielder, defender Sean Bowman and midfielder Dan McGinty. Smith was all-state.
Starting goalkeeper Brian Lewis and juniors Alex Stewart and Nicolas Madrid also return to the starting lineup.
Holly Springs (13-9, 10-6) is coming off its best run in the league now known as the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference. The Golden Hawks return two-thirds of their roster and have two senior all-conference players returning in defender John McNulty and midfielder Adolfo Ramirez (eight goals, five assists).
Athens Drive (12-8-4, 7-7-2) brings back senior midfielder Mac Garrett, whose eight goals and seven assists earned him all-conference honors. Athens and Apex were the only two teams to defeat Green Hope last year.
Middle Creek (11-8-3, 7-7-2) returns all-conference midfielder Dylan Jenkins (eight goals, one assist), a senior, and at least two other players with extensive starting experience in senior Noah Dickerson and junior Brandon Millington.
For Fuquay-Varina (8-13, 6-10), all-conference senior midfielder Andrew Lawrence returns after posting four goals and 10 assists last year. Seniors Dean Rutherford (a UNC-Charlotte recruit), Dominic Oliveres, William Mann, Stefan Davies and junior Johnathan Stehlik return to the starting lineup.
Cary (5-14-1, 4-11-1) has just five returners: juniors Noah Bagherpour and Jon Williams and seniors Martin Koenig, Christian Vasquez and Will Blackley. Koenig was an all-region pick by the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association.
Panther Creek (6-15, 4-12) has a few returners: Samuel Conrad,Brendan O’Dowd and Spencer Saunders.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps