Both boys and also girls’ soccer were added to winter sports for the upcoming season and for a small school like Hilmar, who had one coach doing double duty during their former respective seasons, a new coach was needed to take over one of the teams.
Former head coach Louie Bettencourt decided to take on the head coaching spot for the guys — boasting a Section Championship season just a year ago — and the school brought on Doug Delay, a Turlock resident with plenty of years coaching travel ball, to take the duties for the gals.
“With the women's program switching to the winter time, Hilmar was in need of a coach and Louie has done a phenomenal job of taking the program to where it is today,” said Delay. “I knew Hilmar and the community and I was excited to have a shot at maybe getting back to coaching and I had taken some time off for travel ball coaching.”
For a school with an enrollment under 700, Hilmar has put on a competitive squad recently, even last season after they made the postseason with an overall record of 9-10-2.
“I am looking to build off what Louie has built for the community of Hilmar,” said Delay.
In the spring of 2008, under Bettencourt, Hilmar won the Section title. Under Bettencourt, from 2008-2016 the girls’ teams made the playoffs all but two years (2014 and 2015).
“I think the chemistry is going to be good because all of our athletes work really hard and far as looking at our record, they had success last year but they didn’t end up where they wanted to be,” said Delay. “You win some, you lose some. It’s about getting that lucky chance. I think the camaraderie is going to be great.”
Although overall it wasn't a winning season last year, league was a bit different. The Yellowjackets saw success as they went 6-4-2 in the Trans-Valley League, and finished in third place, earning a spot in the Division V Sac-Joaquin Section tournament.
As a No. 7 seed they fell to the eventual champions and No. 2 seed Capital Christian in a 3-0 decision.
“I look for great things in the future,” said Delay. “Hopefully we are successful. We have a great group of women here; we are a bit on the younger side — not many upperclassmen but nevertheless, I think we have a great group and we will be great.”
The squad will look to Juliann Machado to lead the squad along with junior goalkeeper Mikayla Schmidt.
“These two will be big assets. Obviously Juliann has been playing for a long time and will be a standout and Mikayla is just phenomenal from what I have seen,” said Delay.
Also look for freshman Emily Viera, who Delay says will have her name known in the area before she leaves Hilmar.
“Emily is only a freshman, but she has shown at least at this point that she is a phenomenal player,” said Delay. “Just give her some years and trust me they will know her name by the end.”
A long road hopefully awaits the 'Jackets, who will certainly be fighting for a postseason berth in the upcoming year.
“It's going to be a record for what we are shooting for wins and losses. I think for me it’s about the evaluation that at the end of the year we are peaking and if we have a winning record,” said Delay.