The upcoming fall sports season will see a sea of change at Gray-New Gloucester High School.

Not only is the football team one of 10 teams in the state to participate in the first year of Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned 8-man football, but both the boys and girls soccer teams have new coaches after veteran coaches moved on, and a new sport could make its debut at the school.

The MSAD 15 school board approved volleyball as a club sport at its meeting on Wednesday, giving Gray-New Gloucester students another fall sports season option to go along with football, boys and girls soccer, field hockey and cross country.

The soccer programs will both be entering youth movements in their coaching staffs, with both Kyle Fletcher (boys) and Marcy Francoeur (girls) taking over their respective teams despite being under 30 years old.

New Gray-New Gloucester Athletic Director Susan Robbins said a coach for the volleyball program hasn’t yet been named — “There have been many people that are interested, but obviously we have to go through our vetting process,” she said — and there’s no guarantee that the team will make its debut this season.

“Volleyball was approved as an offering this fall, as long as we get enough girls to sign up,” Robbins said. “And we’ll schedule some games and give them an opportunity this fall, and see how it goes from there.”

Robbins said nine girls had shown interest before the program’s fate went before the school board, and three students played for North Yarmouth Academy’s team last year.

The spark that ignited the program’s possible berth greeted Robbins when she took the job this summer after leaving Yarmouth.

“Volleyball has come up on a number of occasions, that people (in the community) are like ‘We’re on the verge, we’re on the verge.’ And I have some fairly good connections being around as long as I have, so it fell together pretty quickly, just because I think there is an interest,” Robbins said. “The school committee has a philosophy that they want to create as many opportunities for kids as they can, and certainly providing this opportunity is another great one of the girls in our school.”

Getting a team set up shouldn’t be a problem. According to Robbins, the Maine Juniors volleyball club is letting the team borrow its netting system, and the athletic boosters have agreed to donate some other necessary items.

“Volleyball, there’s not a lot of finances to it. If you have the net, then you basically need balls, a ball cart and kids are ready to go,” Robbins said. “So it’s a relatively inexpensive sport to offer.”

Robbins has experience overseeing the sport, which Yarmouth became a multiple-time state champion during her time at the school.

It was also at Yarmouth where Robbins first connected with Fletcher, who became her first hire at Gray-New Gloucester.

Fletcher comes to Gray-New Gloucester after spending time as a coach and academy director for Global Premier Soccer, out of Westbrook. Fletcher said GPS provided Yarmouth its high school girls coach last year.

Fletcher is a 2014 graduate of Monmouth Academy — leaving as the program’s all-time leader in goals and assists — and 2018 graduate of Thomas College. He played for his father, Joe Fletcher, at Monmouth, then was an assistant under him while still in college.

“It’s almost been studying under him, so to speak, for the last eight years pretty much,” Fletcher said. “Ever since I graduated high school I’ve been helping out at Monmouth, so just being under him, seeing how he runs his program. I think he’s done an excellent job up there. Just having that mentorship helps a lot, I believe.”

Despite his youth (23 years old), Fletcher has built up his experience by playing every position but goalie at Thomas after being stationed primarily at center forward at Monmouth. He also did an internship under Thomas head coach Chris Parsons during his senior season before joining the GPS staff after graduating from college.

Fletcher coached three different teams for GPS, as well as his academy duties, so he said he’s “really looking forward to give all my attention to one set of players for the year.”

He still needs to get to know many of his new players. He connected with a few during the interview process, and was able to watch a couple summer soccer games, but otherwise he said he’s had an hour and a half tops with the majority of the team.

“Getting to know them individually, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses, and just familiarizing myself with their faces is going to be somewhat of a challenge early on,” he said.

That shouldn’t be a problem for Francoeur, who was the JV girls coach last year. She was hired before Robbins took over, but Robbins said she has already had ” a lot of great conversations” with Francoeur, who has been teaching summer school.

Both Francoeur and Fletcher are special education teachers at the school for this year. Robbins said having both of them in the building is “a real bonus.”

“I certainly as the athletic director and the coach of the coaches look forward to mentoring (Kyle) and Marcy,” Robbins said. “I think they’re going to be really good ones.”

Francoeur’s playing resume includes four years at Husson University (2013 graduate), and for Seacoast United in New Hampshire before that.

This will be her third year teaching at the school. She said she followed the girls team during her first year, then when the JV job opened up she “thought it would be a great opportunity.

“After coaching within the program for a year and earning this new position, I am excited for the upcoming season.”

Both coaches’ first preseason practices as head coach will be Monday, August 19. Robbins said she hopes volleyball can start as close to that day as possible.

Marcy Francoeur from her senior season at Husson University in 2013. Monty Rand photo

Kyle Fletcher from his senior season at Thomas College in 2017. Thomas College Athletics photo

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.