Sports

Boys soccer: Cain named Wolves’ new coach

Recruiting often falls under the direction of a coach.

But when it comes to South Kitsap, players on the boys soccer team have been known to encourage adults to pursue the coaching position.

Julie Cain said those conversations with athletes help guide her toward becoming the Wolves’ new coach. Athletic director Ed Santos announced her hiring Monday.

Cain, who becomes South’s four coach in five years, also has guided the Wolves’ girls team for the last three seasons. She has compiled a 35-8-10 record in that role with two state-playoff appearances.

Santos praised Cain’s tactical ability and her character.

“She truly is a great coach and a great person,” he said. “She really understands the sport and the culture around soccer as well.”

Cain is believed to be the first female boys soccer coach in South’s history. Santos, who was a longtime cross country and track coach for boys and girls at the school before moving into his current role, said that “it never really came up in my mind.”

“I think good coaches are good coaches,” Santos said. “She understands soccer and understands kids.”

There are several examples of coaching guiding programs of the opposite gender at South. Joanne Warren coached both the boys and girls track teams before stepping down earlier this year. Also, Mike Hulet coaches the school’s girls basketball team.

Despite that, Cain said she will have a “candid conversation” with the boys team after the season to make sure everyone is comfortable with the arrangement.

“So far they have been very receptive to it,” she said.

Cain hopes she can provide some stability to a program that has seen plenty of turnover in recent years. Michael Krug left after guiding the Wolves to a Class 4A state championship in 2009 during his only season as coach. He was replaced by James Ritchie, who left to become the coach of Premier Development League’s Kitsap Pumas after compiling a 17-12-4 record in two years at South.

“It gets easier every year you are there,” Cain said. “There are 50-plus guys that are new to me. It’s a challenge to come out and build from scratch.”

This will mark the first time that both the school’s boys and girls programs will be guided under the direction of one coach since Eric Bergeson in 2006.

“I think there can be a lot of synergy between the programs,” Cain said.

Before moving to the area with her husband, Andrew, who is the principal at Cedar Heights Junior High, Cain was a financial consultant in Bellevue.

She also served as an assistant coach at Seattle Pacific University from 2002-05. The Redhawks won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles in each of her four years.

Cain, who graduated from Shoreline’s Shorewood High, played center-midfield at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., from 1992-95. She was an assistant coach the following year when Westmont had 15-5-2 record and ended the season ranked No. 1 in NAIA.

“She’s so well connected in the soccer world,” Santos said. “She does a great job of helping kids if their aspiration is to play at the next level.”

For now, Cain is just getting to know most of the players.

“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “There’s a lot of tradition in this program.”

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