Sparks steps down as SHS girls soccer coach

Spent 9 years with Sabers between JV and varsity

Amy Sparks has stepped down as Souhegan girls soccer coach to take a girls soccer job at a Vermont high school.

Amy Sparks wants her friends, family, and former players to know one thing:

She’s not moving to Vermont full time.

But, the now-former Souhegan High School girls soccer coach will be spending a lot more time there. She stepped down this past week from her three-year run as the Sabers head coach to accept a similar job at Lamoille Union High School in Hyde Park, Vt.

Sparks and her husband own a home in Stowe, Vt.

“We wanted to spend some more time there,” Sparks said. “This is a way to transition. I still have a passion for coaching.”

Sparks also has a passion for Souhegan, which made the departure a difficult decision. She was the Sabers JV coach for six years, and the head varsity coach for the last three. Both of her daughters graduated from there.

“It was really hard,” Sparks said. “Met a lot of great people, great players, great administrators.”

Sparks stepped into big shoes when she took the job back in the spring of 2014, as the Sabers have a rich tradtion in the sport with an amazing 12 championships. She became only the program’s fifth coach in its 25-year existence, succeeding Duane Andreasen, who had won a Division II title in his final season in 2013.

Sparks’ teams were certainly competitive, going a combined 25-20-4 over three regular seasons, but didn’t make it past the quarterfinals.

“She was very organized, into it, loves the game,” Souhegan athletic director Dick Miller said. “It’s another one of those things in which I’m happy for her, but we’ll miss her and will have to make that transition.”

Miller said Sparks met with her players a few days ago and now the search begins for a successor. Given the history of the program, the opening is likely to attract a lot of attention from the New Hampshire soccer community, which it will need as Miller said there are no apparent candidates who teach in the school.

“We’re looking for someone who can come in and keep the Souhegan tradition going,” Miller said. “Someone who has good background in the game, a qualified soccer person.”

He hopes the candidate pool will be a plentiful one.

“I’m hoping so, but the applicant pool for various openings seems to be up and down,” he said.

Miller certainly wants to have a person in place by the end of the school year, so workout and preseason plans can be mapped out with the players.

“In an ideal world, it’d be nice to have it filled as soon as we can,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sparks is ready for the change in coaching venue.

“Again, we’re not moving to live in Vermont full time,” she said. “Just spending bigger chunks there.”

And taking pieces of a program rich in tradition with her.