Andreasen steps down as Sabers coach

AMHERST – Dwayne Andreasen said he was always willing to help a player pursue her dream of playing college soccer.

“At the same time,” he said, “I’ve had the same dream.”

His dream, of course, is to coach at the collegiate level. Last year, Andreasen got a taste of that as the top women’s soccer assistant at Saint Anselm College, a job he performed while serving as the Souhegan High School girls varsity soccer head coach.

He ultimately decided one job had to go, and over the weekend, he informed Souhegan athletic director Dick Miller, and the team, that he’s leaving. So, too, is Andreasen’s assistant, Lisa Kent.

“It was time,” Andreasen said. “It wasn’t fair to the kids to continue to bounce back and forth.”

For Andreasen, it was a great run: 10 seasons, 137 wins, five semifinal appearances, three title game appearances and two Division II championships.

“We tried to make girls soccer more than just a varsity sport,” said Andreasen, 52, who began with the program 12 years ago, spending one season as a JV coach and another as longtime Saber coach John Boucher’s top assistant before succeeding him. “Some years it was really easy, some years it was really tough.”

“Dwayne was an integral part of our coaching staff,” Miller said on Monday. “He did a fantastic job working with us, our kids and parents. He’s going to be missed big time.”

Andreasen said the grind of high school coaching, mainly the extra duties away from the field, were taking its toll.

“Any coach will tell you the coaching is the fun part,” he said. “At the collegiate level, it’s completely different.”

In fact, Andreasen revealed he was ready to step down a couple of years ago, but decided to hang on until the current seniors played their final year.

“That whole senior class, I don’t know if I’ve ever had more great kids in one class,” he said. “They were willing to work their tails off.”

Andreasen said Telegraph 2013 Player of the Year Peyton Kent “has truly been like a daughter to me” and said it would be much different coaching against her next fall when Kent plays at Bentley. Being able to see her daughter play in college is one of the reasons Lisa Kent is also stepping down, Andreasen said.

Who will replace him? Andreasen said that his JV coach, Amy Sparks, would be an ideal candidate. In fact, he said if Sparks gets the job, he’d be around from time to time to help her out.

Miller said the school will advertise the position and look to fill it before the end of the school year in June

“We’re going to move on,” he said. “There’s a lot of stability there. It’s an extension of the classroom, so we’ll look for somebody who wants to be here, who works well with kids. Somebody who fits in here.”

Andreasen said it still is difficult to know he’s no longer the Sabers coach. “When I clean out my closet,” he said, “it’s full of Saber logos.

Following his meeting with the players late Sunday, Andreasen sent out an email to the soccer community. His teams have appeared in the last three Division II title games, as Souhegan beat Hanover for his first title in 2011, lost to Milford in 2012, and topped Pembroke for the 2013 crown.

“While it is sad to see what will no longer be,” Andreasen said in his email, “it is great to take stock in what we have gained.”

But for the Sabers, Andreasen leaving amounts to their first 2014 loss.