GLADWIN – After 19 years Gladwin soccer coach Jerome Smalley has decided it’s time to give someone else the opportunity to coach the boys team. Smalley along with his wife, Marlene, a former college soccer player started the youth program in Gladwin and later the boys and girls programs at Gladwin High School in 2001. He is the only coach the boys program has ever known.
“It was just time,” said Smalley. “I was going to give up one of the soccer positions because I was going to coach girls basketball again. I decided on the boys team because we were in pretty good shape, we have good players coming back and we had somebody ready to take over.”
Smalley has had some pretty good teams over the years compiling an overall record of 240-141-13 and a conference record of 148-58-4. Along the way the Flying G’s won seven conference titles, two districts and one regional championship and had a league record 60-game conference winning streak which was snapped late in the season last year.
The G’s best season was in 2015 when they won the region before losing to eventual state champion Grand Rapids South Christian in the state semifinals. Gladwin was the only team to score on the Sailors during the tournament. The 2015 team, which finished 23-5, also started the current five-year streak of at least 20 victories. “It was a fun ride,” he said. “We had a great team and a great bunch of kids.”
Last season the team finished with a 20-3-2 record. The team opened the year with 10 straight shutouts. After giving up a lone goal to Ogemaw Heights in game 11 they reeled off four more shutouts to start the season 15-0.
When thinking about the last 19 years Smalley reminisced, “there have been some tremendous kids that have gone through our program. I hope that the kids who have played for me have good memories about it, not just the wins and losses; I hope that they had a positive experience and that I had a positive impact on them.”
Smalley went on to say, “A lot of people have helped us as we put the program together and probably thousands of kids have played since we started it. Our youth program covered Gladwin and Beaverton. I hope it was a positive experience and that it continues for a lot of years to come.”