St. John Valley coaches receive accolades from Maine Soccer Coaches
FORT KENT, Maine — Two St. John Valley high school soccer coaches received 2020 ‘Coach of the Year’ nominations from the Maine Soccer Coaches organization.
Fort Kent Community High School girls soccer coach Doug Cyr and Van Buren High School boys soccer coach Steve Lapierre earned the recognition by overseeing standout teams throughout the season.
In his third year of coaching the Fort Kent Warrior girls, Cyr has already established an impressive coaching resume. His team took home the gold ball as winners of the 2018 Maine Class C Girls Soccer Championship, were state runners up in 2019 and won two regional championships.
Cyr attributes this success largely to the Warrior girls themselves.
“We’ve been blessed with great teams and great players, unselfish players,” Cyr said. “We’ve asked girls that traditionally play and score goals to help in back and that’s what’s been able to drive us to be outstanding and have great soccer teams.”
Cyr said he could not have achieved the honor without the dedication of assistant coach Michelle Lovely.
“When we took on this coaching opportunity we took it on as almost like a mini-team ourselves and she’s truly been a great assistant and I would challenge any assistant coaches in the state with her abilities,” Cyr said.
Lapierre has coached the Van Buren boys for 40 years. The Crusaders won the 2020 Aroostook League Division 2 Championship.
“I enjoy it,” Lapierre said. “I enjoy the opportunity to get kids to play well together. I enjoy the way you see the kids progress and how they improve throughout the year. I enjoy the competitive aspect of it. It’s still fun for me.”
Lapierre described the Maine Soccer Coaches nomination as “quite humbling.”
“I think that obviously the kids worked hard all year and it’s a reflection on the players and their abilities and their success this season- no question about it,” Lapierre said.
“It’s quite an honor just to be nominated for the post. There are a lot of good coaches around and a lot of variables that happen throughout the year.”
The predominant variable this year was indisputably the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a shortened season and no opportunity for state playoffs.
“Quite frankly, this year was one of my strongest teams,” Cyr said. “I truly believe this year we could have won another state championship.”
As disappointing as the 2020 soccer season may have been for athletes, coaches and fans in Maine, the award nominated coaches are both thankful their teams had an opportunity to compete at all.
“I think we were blessed this year to be able to even step foot on the field let alone play nine games,” Cyr said.
Coach Lapierre expressed the same sentiment.
“It was difficult, but we adapted to the changes,” Lapierre said. “I’m just happy we had a season.”