Photo by Jay Drowns/UVU Athletics
Normally, when a new coach is hired and brought into a program, there can be a mindset of letting the new coach take some time before settling in. However, first-year head coach Chris Lemay does not share that mentality. Having been named as UVU’s fourth women’s soccer head coach in program history in February, Lemay wants to make an impact early. He believes the squad is ready for big successes this season.
“I took over a program that certainly has weapons,” Lemay said. “This isn’t a rebuild situation by any means. It’s going to continue to grow. Wherever the ceiling was, we want to break through that ceiling, and create a new ceiling.”
Lemay is from Michigan and played college soccer for Eastern Michigan, but much of his coaching experience was gained in the state of California. From UC Riverside, to San Diego State, and finally California Berkeley, Lemay’s coaching abilities helped him find success. Lemay says he will bring his methodology from the other programs and from his personal playing experience to help UVU’s squad reach new heights.
As an associate head coach at Cal, Lemay played against top programs every year, helping him adapt and grow as a coach. Aside from formation strategies or tactics on the field, Lemay says his passion and love for the game of soccer has always been a great attribute in helping the other programs. The attitude of never taking the easy way out, and always pushing himself, has helped Lemay accomplish his goals as a coach.
“I want to play against the biggest and the best, and I want to recruit the biggest and the best. I think that our team right now can compete,” Lemay said. “I like that environment, because it’s the biggest stage. I want this program to be playing to the biggest stage.”
Lemay doesn’t need to look far to find a rival for competition. Seattle U went unbeaten in WAC play last season. Just down the road in Provo, BYU entered the season with the No. 8-ranked team in the nation. As far as recruiting goes, Lemay says he takes the approach of a straight-shooter, tell-it-how-it-is kind of guy.
“I think we have to continue to put the best product on the field that we can, the best team chemistry that we can. We’re definitely going to compete for the best players in Utah with BYU,” Lemay said.
The state of the soccer programs here at UVU is what Lemay says is exciting for him as a first-year head coach. Lemay says the school’s approach and support in being a soccer school has created a positive buzz for the programs here; he can see a great program, and that is what he envisions the women’s team becoming as well.
“The men’s team has already proven it, playing with UCLA and turning around and hosting Akron. I don’t have to look far to see what we want to become,” Lemay said.
The love of soccer is something that has been embedded in Lemay since he was very young, and continues to grow with time. Lemay has a formed a passion for every aspect of the sport from when the ball is on the pitch, to traveling to play at other venues and forming relationships with other coaches and players. With a vast amount of playing and coaching experience, it will certainly be intriguing to see the amount of success that Lemay can help the women’s program accomplish as head coach here at UVU.