NKSC veteran takes command of NKHS boys soccer

POULSBO — Atop the North Kitsap High soccer chain of command, the guard is changing. But there is little about NK soccer that the incoming head coach hasn’t seen.

Christopher May, a 10-year volunteer with the North Kitsap Soccer Club and a 30-year veteran of the sport, will take the reins as the 2007 team hits the pitch.

For the past six years, May has coached the NKSC rec league team — NK Strikers ‘89. During that time, the team won district titles in all but two years. More important than its success on the field, May said is that the group stayed together as a team — and as friends — for their tenure.

“The potential of this (NKHS) team is really in their hands,” May said, switching gears to the upcoming North Kitsap 2007 squad.

But the success, which the Vikings may or may not enjoy, will be predominantly determined before the season even begins, he said. How players prepare themselves and how they bond as a team will be large factors for the upcoming season, May said.

It all begins Tuesday as May and NK assistant coach Greg St. Peter have called a team meeting (at 7 p.m., Jan. 9 in the NKHS commons) to familiarize players and parents with season expectations and the new head coaching style.

“I consider myself more of a teacher, I’m not a Bobby Knight kind of screaming coach,” May said. “Most of the coaching with soccer has to get done in the times between games.”

May said while players will hopefully take it upon themselves to create a team foundation before the first game on Feb. 26, he and St. Peter will be working on the team’s framework. The season will be one of transition as the squad will split when Kingston High School opens in September.

“We’re still going to have cuts, obviously, but we’re going to bend over backwards to take as many kids as we can with ability and potential (this year),” May said. “That way, next year when the teams split, both will have a core group of kids that have some experience.”

In terms of experience coming into the 2007 season, the Vikings have a deep well to draw from despite losing 10 seniors in 2006. Sophomore Zach Sampson, who led the team in scoring last year will likely return along with a bevy of talented mid-field juniors and handful of experienced seniors.

Noting some anticipated holes in North’s defense, May said the Vikings will be in need of players willing to step up on the field. More importantly, he expects the Vikings to consistently step it up off the field.

“These guys are student athletes, we’re going to really emphasize that fact,” he said. “It’s always school, family and then soccer … and that’s the way it has to be.”