For the third time in as many seasons, Carlisle soccer will have a new head coach. Two years ago, Jeff Lochrie led the Chiefs to their first ever boys state championship. Last season, Lucas Almeida took over for Lochrie and led the team back to the state title game before falling to rival North Cross.
With Almeida also gone from the program, on Tuesday Carlisle announced that they’ve hired Grant Boaz as the new head soccer coach at the school. Boaz played at Martinsville High School from 2009-2013, and then two more years at Patrick Henry Community College.
Not only will Boaz take over the boys’ program in the fall, he will also lead the girls team in the spring.
“We wanted to find somebody locally if we could. It’s been a process, but I think we found the right man,” said Carlisle Athletic Director Mancino Craighead. “With his enthusiasm and his knowledge and wisdom of the game, and just being a younger coach, I think he’d do really, really well with our team and I think he could really relate to them.”
Carlisle has been a state championship contender for the past eight seasons, and this season will be no different. That was part of what intrigued Boaz when he learned of the opening.
“I know the tradition and the history at Carlisle,” Boaz said. “There’s a big tradition of excellence... I want to be able to keep that tradition going.”
There are high expectations that go along with all of the success in recent years, but Boaz is aware of those expectations and expects to be able to reach them.
“We have a well-balanced team, a team that was in the state championship game just last year and only lost a few players, so I think the expectations... I think we can achieve them,” Boaz said.
“I think he already understood the expectations coming into the interview,” Craighead said. “Just the history of Carlisle soccer and what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
This upcoming season will be Boaz’s first as a varsity head coach, but since playing at PHCC, he has played and coached alongside Enda Crehan, now at Ferrum College, Martinsville Boys Soccer Coach Pete Scouras, Magna Vista Girls Soccer Coach Wes Lewis, and current PHCC Head Men’s Soccer Coach Brennan Murphy, among others. For the past two seasons Boaz has been coaching club soccer with the Piedmont Youth Soccer League, including winning a Blue Ridge Soccer League championship. His step-father, Harry Lance, has also coached at Carlisle.
“He’s been around all of the top soccer coaches in this area,” Craighead said.
“It’s been a valuable experience learning from them,” Boaz said.
Boaz was out of town when the news was made official Tuesday afternoon, but he plans to come back soon and start implementing his system to his new team.
“I want to implement a possession-based system, a team that keeps the ball, that works the ball and moves it well, and a team that is going to play fast, exciting soccer with a high press and when needed we’ll turn our back to control the game as needed.”
Boaz is excited to get started, and Carlisle is excited to see what Boaz can do with this opportunity.
“He was excited about the opportunity,” Craighead said. “And that’s all we can ask for.”
Chris Doherty is a Sports Reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him 276-638-8801 ext. 215. Follow on Twitter @BulletinSport