For BG boys soccer, a new coach and dreams of improvement
NASHUA – It’s pretty much his dream job. And new Bishop Guertin High School boys soccer coach Tyler VanDeventer hopes to make Cardinal fans’ dreams of better days for their program eventually come true.
“Just knowing a little bit about the athletic program (at BG) over the last couple of years, it had been somewhat successful,” VanDeventer said. “So having the potential to kind of build something similar to some of the other sporting programs at the school.
“Looking at the record, it’s public knowledge the boys soccer program has been a footnote in the athletic program almost. So the potential of building my own program and seeing it be successful, hopefully, and getting more and more kids involved in the school to play soccer as well (is his goal).”
VanDeventer is right, the Cardinals have long been struggling at the boys soccer level over the last 10 years, at least. The Cards won the Class L (Division I) title in 2004, 1-0 over Exeter, but haven’t sniffed the later rounds of the state tournament since – if they even qualify. Guertin missed the tourney last season, the fourth and final year under former coach Valdemir “Rocky” Roque. Roque had been successful at ConVal, including a 15-1 season, before he took the Guertin job in 2018, but with the Cards the last four years didn’t come close to matching that success.
VanDenter, 29, is one of several new boys head soccer coaches in the area. Among the Division I locals, Jeremy Zelanes takes over at Nashua North, while Joe Ducharme is the new head coach at Alvirne and Mirsad Islamovic is the new head man at Merrimack as Brady Hosey left to become the new head coach at Fitchburg State.
VanDeventer, a Manchester West High School alum, spent four years at Salem, two as the freshmen coach and two as the JV coach/varsity assistant. He also spent three years prior to that as the Manchester Memorial boys freshmen coach.
He was at one point on the board for the New Hampshire Soccer Association. He’s a club coach, with Seacoast United in Bedford. So soccer is pretty much his fulltime gig. A couple of families connected to the Cardinal program told him the BG job might be a good fit, so why not apply? Twice he had tried for the Salem head job.
“I love the sport, obviously, and I love New Hampshire,” VanDeventer said. “So anything I can do to see the two things move forward around here I’m pretty much in on.”
The numbers under Roque weren’t a problem, although injuries and COVID cut into them a bit over the last couple of years. VanDeventer saw a few captains practices over the summer “and there’s definitely plenty of talent in the pool. I think it’s just a matter of the kids enjoying it, making sure it’s something they want to do, and it doesn’t feel like a ‘Ah, I’ve got to go to soccer practice’ kind of thing.
“It’s more of an excitement like ‘Yeah, we’ve got soccer practice later today!'”
VanDeventer was at the packed Nashua North-South Division I semis and South-Hanover finals at Stellos Stadium and he’d love for Guertin to be part of something like that.
“That was one of the biggest crowds at a soccer game I’ve seen in the state,” he said of North-South. “But definitely. We set a goal this year, talking to the potential captains, bare minimum we want to be a playoff team this year.”
VanDeventer said that the key is to compete, and the rest will take care of itself.
“You just have to be competitive in all of your games,” he said. “Some of your games need to go your way, and if they don’t, it’s OK some of the time, but you’ve got to make sure you get those six, seven wins to be in contention for those playoff spots.”
VanDeventer knows he’s “pretty unknown at this point as far as high school soccer.” But if the Cards win, that could certainly change.
“At the end of the day, it’s kind of a dream come true,” he said. “When I first started coaching high school soccer (back in 2013), that season was difficult because I had never coached before. But after that, those second and third seasons were definitely something I enjoyed, and having my own program was definitely a goal of mine. It’s kind of a dream come true at a certain point, but don’t want to stop that work ethic, there’s still plenty more to do.”