Friday, February 27, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Smith’s success revolves around giving his JV girls the reins

By
From page B1 | May 02, 2013 |

Coaches, find your pen and paper. It couldn’t hurt taking notes as you read this …

Longtime Davis High girls junior varsity soccer mentor Robert Smith sat down with The Davis Enterprise to talk about his 17 years on the Blue Devil pitch.

What comes across in Smith’s on-field style and personal philosophy is golden for any would-be youth coach. It’s an approach that even the most experienced coaches could learn from.

“It’s about the players. It’s really their team,” Smith explains. “It’s not my team. Sure, I’m a member of it, but I want them to take pride in their accomplishments. … The players are the ones doing all the work.

“It’s a character-building thing, too. I want them to have a lot of fun — isn’t that the purpose of playing? Why else would you be out here?”

Smith, 66, broke into Devil soccer under retired coach Allen Carlson. Carlson spent one season as JV coach with Smith by his side.

Carlson — whose varsity teams went on to win four Sac-Joaquin Section titles — once said of Smith:

“When I get a girl up from junior varsity, I know three things about her already: She’s a team player, she has great skills — whether natural or acquired — and she will have learned the game front to back from Bob.”

Over the years, Smith’s teams have been formidable, sometimes perfect.

His Blue Devils have had three undefeated seasons, and in 2010 his girls allowed zero goals the entire campaign.

“I don’t know the overall record since I’ve coached, but I have to admit we inherit players from as many as three club teams and they’re usually very good coming in,” Smith says. “We get some terrific players from AYSO, too. Frequently I have no idea what the backgrounds of my players are …”

He just works hard from day one to put the right pieces of his annual JV puzzle together.

Starting from a three-forward style that has made North Carolina the envy of the women’s collegiate soccer world, Smith says he’s not against making adjustments based on the abilities of his charges.

“We usually have a enough talent that we could play any (style), but North Carolina has always impressed me,” Smith continues. “It’s a pretty demanding style.”

But at DHS, that can mean 10-0, 14-0 even 18-0 games in which Smith’s full roster gets a lot of experience. The coach can mix and match lineups and go deep into his bench, giving Blue Devils the opportunity to not only get playing time, but try new positions.

Smith says, however, even if scores were 1-0, the same opportunities would come on his teams. It’s a learning process, after all, the coach says.

Smith is a Stanford graduate who grew up in Reno, where he and his wife of 43 years, Toni, were high school sweethearts.

The Smiths’ daughter Lindsay is a former Davis High field hockey and lacrosse JV coach. Lindsay was the reason Smith got involved coaching soccer.

“It’s the typical Davis story,” Smith says with a chuckle. “Your kid starts out in AYSO and they’re looking for warm bodies to coach …

“I had no experience at all coaching soccer. When I was growing up, there were no opportunities at all … which I regret because it would have been a great sport for me.”

Once involved — he coached with John Spurr early on — Smith began to take coaching classes and attending clinics. He and Spurr created a U14 competitive team (what is now Davis Legacy Soccer Club was embryonic) and his interest — and acumen — evolved to the point that he applied to coach the JV team.

“That took a while,” Smith laughs again. “I applied three times. The first time a UCD kid got the job, for one year. Then Allen got the position and I helped him. When Allen went to varsity, I applied again.”

The third time was the charm.

With its season-ending win over Elk Grove on Wednesday, the 2013 Blue Devils finished the season 19-1-1.

“It’s all about respect,” Smith concludes. “I tell (the girls) you don’t have to be best friends with the people on your team, but you have to respect them as teammates.”

Watch Smith at practice, or during games: He is calm and calculating, with instruction that comes with complete attention from his students.

Watch his Blue Devils play. The girls get it; they have worked hard in preparing for the games. They’re having that good time that Smith believes is a key to winning.

Got it. Coaches, put your pens down.

Notes: Smith is a retired civil engineer who still consults from time to time. Away from soccer, he enjoys tennis and golf and is committed to yoga. … Daughter Lindsay followed in Dad’s footsteps as an engineer and works for West Yost Associates. … Smith’s assistant for 10 years has been Tim Gbedema. The Kenyan and Smith also coached together for Davis Legacy.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Mother arrested for death of baby Justice Rees

    By Lauren Keene | From Page:

     
     
    New greenhouse will add to ‘Farm to Mouth’ program

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Learn about pollinators, gardens and honey at Yolo Basin fundraiser

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Fire damages South Davis home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Gerber nominations close Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Explorit: Humming right along

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A3

     
    Flower arrangers feature S.F. designer

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Celebrate Africa on Saturday at I-House

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Spring sing-along is March 4

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Chamber explores how to pay for Davis’ needs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Wolk and Dodd team up to provide Napa earthquake tax relief

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Robb Davis to speak about homelessness, energy

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Class of 1970 plans 45-year reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Bicycle safety course to be offered in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Documentary on immigration issues will be screened

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Learn about your brain on March 14

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    A fill-up mishap

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Two free yoga classes offered March 12

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Take a night walk at Cache Creek

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Adopt a household for Bridge to Housing participants

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Workshop will teach sustainable gardening methods

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Forum

    Tired of all of this

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Cavalier attitude about bike safety

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

    Start early to build healthy dental habits

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

     
    No extra cost for containers

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

    Oral Health Project launches

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

     
    Here an H, there an H

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

    .

    Sports

    Off day for Aggie men at UCSB

    By Kim Orendor | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie women fall to 4th after lackluster showing

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Devils are on to the SJS semis

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil boys expect a spike in production

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Inquiring minds want to know about Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Encouraging start for DHS boys tennis team

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Late goal lifts Red Wings over Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    Watney struggling at windy Honda Classic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    International Film Series to present ‘Jaffa’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Monticello announces March schedule

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    The Artery presents ‘Stepping Into Nature’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    YoloArts’ Gallery 625 presents ‘The Poetry of Dots’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    ‘Focus': A sharply conceived caper

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    The Woodland Opera House announces 2015-16 season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Nissan’s Z remains an affordable performer

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3

     
    Car Care: Simple DIY steps to protect your car through all seasons

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Dieter W. Gruenwedel

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    George Miller Jr.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Death notice: Celia E. Recchio

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Vernon E. Burton

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, February 27, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5