GC women’s soccer coach visits with Guyana National Team
Head GC women’s soccer coach Hope Clark spent this past summer in Guyana, a small country in South America, working with the U17 National Team. She visited Guyana once before in 2010, but this year the program was for CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.
“My role mainly was to go in and work with their goalkeepers, which is my specialty, and also to do some coaching education for the head and assistant coaches,” Clark said.
Guyana recently developed a women’s soccer league, the first of its kind in the country. Clark is excited about this development, as it represents a step forward in women’s soccer and growth of the sport across the country.
“They’re so proud to represent their country,” Clark said. “My No. 1 focus is to give whatever help I can and help grow this sport for women’s soccer.”
Clark plans on using this experience to help grow GC’s soccer team this season.
“One of our core values is gratitude,” Clark said. “That’s the biggest thing that I can kind of bring back and teach to our athletes: how great we have it and how blessed we are to have the resources available to us here in the US and here at Georgia College.”
GC’s women’s soccer team is young, with seven freshmen on the team of 20 players. Clark said this as an exciting opportunity for the team.
“I’m excited about the growth of this program and where we’re going,” Clark said.
Junior forward Sofia Lekas and sophomore center back Renee Mike both are optimistic about this season and what Clark will continue to bring to the team.
“She’s big on being positive,” Lekas said. “When we’re being positive on the field and off the field, it really helps when we come to play in games.”
In the 2016 season, Lekas scored one goal and had two assists. In her third season playing for Clark, Lekas looks to make more of an impact this year.
Mike, an international student from Trinidad and Tobago, looks forward to playing another season with Clark.
“She sees something in you that you would never see in yourself, and she drives at that one thing that she knows you can do, and eventually, after time, it will come out, and you will be a better player overall,” Mike said.
Mike, whose native country is also part of CONCACAF, spoke of the differences between soccer in Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S.
“Over here, it’s more intense,” Mike said. “[My teammates] push me to be a better player because of their standards.”
Clark hopes to use this experience to build GC’s soccer program and improve the team’s record. Last year, the team missed playing in the Peach Belt Tournament by one spot.
“[Our goal is] positive movement in our Peach Belt ranking and certainly hosting and moving forward in the Peach Belt,” said Clark.
Photo courtesy of GC Sports Information