by Ken Brown
CRAFTSBURY – The Craftsbury Academy (CA) varsity soccer programs will have new faces on the sidelines this coming fall with the hiring of head coaches Patrick Houle and William Garske.
Houle will replace Tom Silva after three seasons of rebuilding the girls’ program from dormancy to a new member of the highly competitive Mountain League. Hailing from Morrisville, Houle has played soccer at some level or another for over thirty years. He has a class D coaching license and holds various Grassroots Coaching certifications through the United States Soccer Association. Houle also earned a Level-1 Goalkeeping Diploma through the United Soccer Coaches. He has coached in Vermont at the youth level as well as in the Vermont Soccer League and is a member of the Vermont Soccer Association board of directors.
“I played at a small high school and the community was just as passionate and involved as any big school we played against. I feel like I understand the advantages and challenges of being a small-town soccer player and playing at CA gives young people a lot of opportunities they might not have at bigger schools. My hope is that we can use these advantages to build a sustainable and competitive program that is hard to beat on the field. I plan on being very active in the community and in the youth soccer program to build enthusiasm in the game at an early age. My main focus as a coach is on player development and providing my student-athletes with intangible skills they can use to succeed off of the pitch,” said Houle.
Garske replaces Sam Jay after a successful one year stint that resurrected the boys’ program from a winless 2020 campaign to a highly competitive three-win season in the Division III rich Mountain League. Garske teaches high school math at CA and grew up playing soccer at the youth, travel, and high school level.
“I feel like I have a strong understanding and commitment towards the game of soccer. Ever since I started teaching at CA, I have always wanted to be a coach. My goal is to continue to build a positive program here that instills the value of hard work and having fun. I look forward to being more involved with the community here and coaching allows me to do exactly that,” said Garske.
Connor Bean will take over athletic director duties this fall at CA and Houle and Garske are his first two hires. His goal is to keep the momentum going that former A.D. Gabriela Silva helped start three years ago and keep growing community interest in sports at the youth and varsity levels.
“It feels great to have our coaches solidified for the upcoming fall season and it takes a lot of pressure off from me to quickly get into this new role and find the right people for our growing programs here at CA. I believe that Will and Patrick will make significant impacts on each of their respective programs, not just this year, but for the future!,” said Bean.