Andrew Chadwick coached Green Hope to its first boys soccer state championship in 2011 and retired. 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 will take aim at a three-peat under three head coaches, and the lofty goal is a reasonable one.
Last years title seemed unlikely with the Falcons graduating all but two bench players from the 2011 champs, but Green Hope went 24-2.
The good news for Hoy, other than stepping into a program that is 49-3 in the past two seasons, is he wont have to replace 11 starters. Nine return.
In a good way, its overwhelming. Theres just so much talent and its super-rich in recent tradition and the expectations are through the roof, Hoy said. For a coach, its 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 the Capital Area Soccer League, coaching a range of teams, including 9-year-old boys and 18-year-old girls.
Hoy is no stranger to the Green Hope program. He watched several of last years games with a rooting interest returning co-captain Sam Rauf, a first-team all-conference performer, is his first cousin.
Junior midfielder MacLean Holbrook (five goals, 14 assists) was the catalyst for last years 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.
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. Its really easy to tell that (winning the state title) has only made them more hungry to do it again, and theyre very, very grounded. Even at a summer session at 8 a.m., these guys were flying and busting their butts.
Teams to watch
Sanderson: The Spartans were 23-2-2 in 2012, losing in the third round of the 4A playoffs to Green Hope. All-state senior midfielder Ryan Turner led the team with 15 assists and added 17 goals. Coach Todd Worley, who has a 278-97-16 record at the school, said senior midfield Dylan Haynes (six goals, six assists) is an electrifying player. Senior midfielder Michael Clemmons was all-conference as a sophomore and is back after not playing as a junior because of club team conflicts.
East Chapel Hill: The Wildcats went 17-2-2 last year, falling to Green Hope in the fourth round of the 4A playoffs. They return two senior starters, midfielder Michael Balog and forward Zachary Lee.
Apex: The Cougars were 16-5-1 a year ago and return all-region picks midfielder Robert Smith and defender Sean Bowman.
Cardinal Gibbons: The Crusaders (17-5-1), lost in the 3A East final to Jacksonville. Ade Taiwo, the 2012 N.C. Gatorade player of the year, tore his ACL during club play and will miss his senior season. Gibbons lost its top four goal-scorers but returns seven starters. Defender Chase Rhode, midfielder Cameron Steele and goalkeeper Luke Deacon return. Bryan Hall and Cooper Duplantis are expected to play bigger roles.
Chapel Hill: The Tigers (20-6-1) lost in the third round of the 3A playoffs. They return all-state pick Ben Fisher, a junior midfielder who posted 15 goals and 21 assists, as well as senior Nate Hebert (20 goals, seven assists), junior Connor Albrecht and senior Alex Walker. Senior defenders Luke Ciocca and Chandler Weeden also are back
Jordan: The young Falcons were 16-5-3 last year and return four of their top five goal-scorers: juniors Ruben Gomez, Dakota Trauco and Huntley Mann and senior Kaushik Puranam. Senior defender Michael Lawson was an all-region pick.
Durham Carolina Friends: The Quakers graduated just one senior from last years team that went 19-2-1 and lost in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A final.
Heritage: The Huskies were 16-8 and made it to the third round of last years playoffs. They return six starters including Kidd Bottomley (10 goals, two assists), sophomore Logan Shytle (seven goals, four assists) and senior goalkeeper Calvin Hamblet.
Leesville Road: The traditionally strong Pride returns keeper Chris Zappia, defender Cody Close, forward Ben Cox and midfielder Max Littlefield.
Raleigh Christian: Junior Gavin Garrison led area scorers in 2012 with 35 goals for the 14-3 club. Midfielder Pyung Song is back along with third-year starting goalie John Ausley.
Wake Forest: The Cougars are expected to be improved after a 6-14-1 season. Seven starters return, including all-region midfielders Zac Morris and Jacob Turner.
North Raleigh Christian: The Knights have eight starters from a 10-9-3 team. Nathan Pike and Eddie Pinon were all-region picks. Ryan McCready was all-conference.
Players to watch
Luc Batawi, Enloe, Sr.: One of three returning starters for the 14-7-2 Eagles, who pushed Green Hope into overtime in the playoffs. Jason McCartney and Johnny James also are back.
Ben Carlin, N.C. Science & Math, Sr.: Leading returning scorer for the Unicorns, who were 16-1 and lost in the third round of the 1A playoffs to Raleigh Charter. NCSSM will be 2A this year and return all-conference players Matthew Nichols and Bryon Spells.
Corey Chandler, Ravenscroft, Sr.: One of three returning players for the state NCISAA 3A semifinalist. Posted eight goals and three assists.
Cohen Dworsky, Cary Academy, Jr.: Forward was an NCISAA 3A all-state pick.
Mac Garrett, Athens Drive, Sr.: Had eight goals and seven assists to earn all-conference and all-region honors.
Luke Hickey, Carrboro, Sr.: Led the way for the 2A state runner-up Jaguars, who return 14 players including senior goalkeeper Murat Calikoglu.
Dylan Jenkins, Middle Creek, Sr.: Was the Mustangs leading scorer last year (eight goals, one assist).
John McNulty, Holly Springs, Sr.: All-conference defender returns with classmate Adolfo Ramirez (eight goals, five assists), a midfielder.
Marco Perez, Garner, Sr.: Had eight goals and 15 assists for the Greater Neuse Conference champs. Four of the top five leading scorers are back.
Dean Rutherford, Fuquay-Varina, Sr.: Injuries limited the Charlotte recruit last year. Classmate Andrew Lawrence had four goals and 10 assists.
Pedro Segundo, Corinth Holders, So.: The leading returning scorer for the Pirates (10 goals 6 assists), who made the fourth round of the 2A playoffs last year but now move up to 3A.
Jeremy Twidt, Cary Christian, Sr.: Was selected to the NCISAA 2A all-state team last year.
Darwin Ramirez, Siler City Jordan-Matthews, Jr.: An all-state pick who along with seniors and all-region picks Cirilo Rangel and Diego Santiesteban helped lead the Jets to the 2A East final.