WILLIAMSTOWN - Mike Albertson has had a hand in the development of the soccer program at Williamstown High School for many years now.
This year Albertson and the Yellowjacket soccer program will take a huge step forward as for the first time in the school's history, Williamstown hopes to have both boys and girls soccer teams this fall when the 2013 soccer campaign kicks off.
"Our numbers have grown year after year and our administration decided to separate us into two groups," said Albertson, who will serve as girls head coach for the 2013 season. "We have played as a co-ed squad for the past six or seven years so we are excited to get the opportunity to compete, boys against boys, and girls against girls.
Times file photo
Williamstown’s Gearick Watt, center, heads the ball away from teammate Matt Zlatkind, left, and Parkersburg Catholic’s Peter Keiser in a match last year. Williamstown won 4-1.
Albertson has been involved in Williamstown soccer in one form or the other since 2001 when he headed up the Williamstown soccer recreation program.
Numbers so far have been outstanding for Albertson and his girls squad as he expects at least 18 girls to attempt to make up this year's Lady Yellowjacket roster.
"The girls are really excited for this season. We have had good success in the past and look to build upon that this season," said Albertson, who has served as the co-ed coach for the past two seasons.
Albertson noted that in the past the co-ed teams were forced to play against all boys teams more times than not as only a handful of other teams on the Williamstown schedule were co-ed squads as well.
Brazil native Telma Poole has been hired as boys coach for the upcoming season and much like Albertson, she can sense the excitement in her boys squad.
"It is going to be different for them but they are excited for the change," said Poole, who played professional soccer in her native Brazil. "I think the boys will play stronger and better because they may have been a little more cautious around the girls."
Poole expects 16 or 17 boys to participate in the inaugural season of Yellowjacket boys soccer and will have a very young team as at least seven of those kids will be freshman.
Albertson's squad will be a very young one as well as he has no seniors and only three juniors on his pre season roster.
"We will be a work in progress and will hope to improve as the season progresses," said Albertson.
Poole has been in the United States for 18 years, many of those dedicated to teaching the game of soccer and she hopes that the experience she brings to the table will be beneficial to the entire Williamstown program.
"Mike (Albertson) has done a great job with these kids the past few years," said Poole, who will also serve as an assistant coach this season at WVUP. "Now it's my time to help teach these boys the international game of soccer."
The future appears just as bright for the Williamstown program as some 180 youngsters participated in youth league soccer this spring.
"Williamsown sports has a tradition of excellence and we would like to become a part of that," said Albertson. "Hopefully we can continue to grow and become a strong program for our school and our community."