Trying to find someone with coaching experience and a knowledge of the girls’ soccer program wasn’t such a difficult task for Edward Little High School.

So when the Red Eddies needed a new head coach, they didn’t have far to look

Val Brown has been named the new varsity coach for the girls’ squad. Brown was the head coach for a season in 2002 and has also been an assistant with the program.

“I think it’s a natural progression for me,” said Brown, who was a standout goaltender at EL. “If I’m going to be there on the field anyway, I’d probably just as well take it over.”

Brown replaces Tom Grossman, who had coached the Red Eddies for the last three seasons. Grossman and his wife recently moved back to his native Rochester, N.Y.

Brown was aware of Grossman’s plans. When that move materialized, it was an easy choice for Brown to return to the head coaching job.

“It was a no brainer,” said Brown. “I’ve been around the EL program basically since it became a varsity sport.”

Brown coached the team in 2002. EL went 10-4-3 and lost in the Western A quarterfinals. Following that season, Brown resigned both as basketball and soccer coach upon taking a job as an assistant basketball coach at Bowdoin College. She was also pursuing her master’s degree.

“One pro with taking this job is the shortness of the season,” said Brown. “In Maine, the soccer season is done in October, and if you’re lucky in late October. The way the soccer season is set up, it’s a perfect situation for me.”

Brown is still juggling professional goals with her coaching aspirations. She still has course work toward her masters. She’s also the department chair in the EL mathematics department.

“It will allow me to continue working with the girls but also allows me to maintain the goals that I want to pursue academically,” she said.

Having worked with Grossman, who Brown calls one of the best coaches the program has had, and Wally LeBlanc, she feels well prepared to step back into the varsity job coaching soccer.

“I definitely feel more comfortable,” said Brown. “I think people hear my name and think basketball, but I think the kids can attest, and the goal keepers can attest to my knowledge of soccer.”

She says having stepped back from the head coaching role in both sports and working as an assistant provided her a new perspective. Instead of focusing on the larger picture, she was able to work one-on-one and teach individuals as an assistant.

“It allowed me to focus more on the kids and what motivates them and what doesn’t,” said Brown, who has also been an assistant with the boys’ varsity basketball team. “It has allowed them to speak for themselves and open the lines of communication.”

She inherits a team that lost a wealth of seniors, including four-year veterans like Beth Esponnette, Erin Cain, Liz Langelier, Ashley Pepin and Lindsey St. Hilaire. They also graduated Kelsey Pettengill and lost junior fullback Olivia Welch.

“We’re losing a lot,” said Brown. “It will definitely be a different look in the fall.”

Goaltender Brittney French, senior fullback Kara St. Hilaire and junior midfielder Alice Read return with the most experience.

“With those three kids up the middle for us, we can definitely build around them,” said Brown.

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