After spending 13 seasons as a college soccer referee, Craig Roberts is applying what he’s learned while running up and down the field officiating games to his new job as coach of the girls’ soccer team at Cheverus High School in Portland.
“It’s a different perspective than refereeing, but I think refereeing has sort of helped my coaching,” he said. “I think I’m a better coach now than I was when I was 29 or 30 years old.”
Roberts, 44, is not new to coaching. In the late ’90s, he coached the junior varsity and was an assistant varsity coach at Cape Elizabeth when it won three Class A state championships in four seasons.
“I started refereeing college soccer games, and I couldn’t coach soccer and referee college soccer at the same time, so I just focused on reffing,” he said.
For the past 10 years, his job as a soccer official took Roberts throughout New England.
“The travel with reffing was keeping me away from home and my kids were both at the age where they’re playing sports, so I wanted to be around home more to see them play and be involved with their activities,” he said.
This fall, Roberts, who teaches economics and civics at Scarborough High School, returned to coaching.
“I’ve enjoyed working with high school students outside the classroom and the teaching aspect of soccer,” he said.
Roberts’ experience as a college soccer referee has helped in his transition.
“Refereeing, especially with college, let’s you see what successful programs, what successful coaches do,” he said. “You also see how unsuccessful coaches coach and unsuccessful programs operate. I’ve tried to use what I’ve seen with the more successful programs and implement that with the girls at Cheverus.”
The Stags have opened the season with four losses.
“Between graduation and injuries, we’ve lost a lot of players,” Roberts said. “We’re young. I hate the word ‘rebuilding,’ but there’s a lot of focus on teaching and how to be a varsity player, the style we want to play and just being patient and focused as a group. There’s a lot of focus on the process at this point and not so much the results.”
CAMDEN HILLS will put its unbeaten record on the line when it plays archrival Ocean-side at 1 p.m. Saturday at Pendleton Field in Thomaston in a key Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Division matchup.
While compiling a 4-0 record during the first two weeks of the season, the Windjammers have outscored their opponents by a combined 26-1 margin.
The host Mariners (3-1) also have posted three shutouts while outscoring their opponents, 12-1.
The Eastern Class B teams have two common opponents — Belfast and Lincoln Academy. Camden Hills outscored those two teams, 12-0, and Oceanside outscored them by 10-0.
KEY MATCHUPS: Thornton Academy visits Windham at 10 a.m., Saturday, for an SMAA game.
Both Western Class A teams are unbeaten after Wednesday’s big wins — the Trojans beat visiting Bonny Eagle 9-0 and the Eagles won 10-0 at Cheverus.
Cape Elizabeth visits Greely at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, for a Western Maine Conference game.
Greely is unbeaten after a 4-1 win over Kennebunk Wednesday, and Cape suffered its first loss Wednesday night, 2-0, at home to Falmouth.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: