Manti coach named Utah Soccer Coach of the Year by National Soccer Coaches Association
By Daniela Vazquez
Education coordinator and staff writer
MANTI—Gerald Wayman, Manti High School boys soccer coach, was recently recognized with the 2016 State Coach of the Year award by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Wayman told the Messenger it all started because he loves the sport and wanted his sons to have an opportunity to play on a team.
Without soccer teams in the valley, Wayman said was forced to start his own team. In 2005, he created a club for high school-aged boys, but said it didn’t come without challenges.
The biggest challenge, he said, was finding enough boys who were interested in playing to create a full team.
Because the South Sanpete School Board had not yet made soccer a sanctioned sport, Wayman said another challenge was finding teams to play against.
The final trial was teaching the fundamentals of soccer to boys who, he said, didn’t know the first thing about playing soccer other than kicking a ball toward a goal.
“A positive moment,” Wayman said, “was when the kids I was coaching finally caught onto the game of soccer and developed enough skills to unite and play as a team.”
Wayman’s boys made it through the first three years playing soccer as a club, and through “blood, sweat and tears,” the team was sanctioned to play for Manti High School in 2008. The team has made it to every state playoff since.
The Manti High soccer team holds some of the best stats in the state. In the nine years since being sanctioned, it has 103 wins, 38 losses and four ties.
In 2012, the team took home the 2A state title, which, Wayman said the highlight of his soccer coaching career.
“That year, Manti was not even ranked during the season,” Wayman said. “No one expected Manti to make it through the second round, let alone into the championship game.”
Manti High competed against St. Joseph’s, the No. 1-ranked team, but drove them out of the tournament and later won the championship game, 3-2. Manti scored all five goals, and Wayman said, “Yes, unfortunately, we accidentally scored two on ourselves.”
Wayman says his absolute proudest moment in coaching was watching his sons receive academic all-state recognition, all-state player nominations and other awards.
Wayman has coached all four of his sons now and, after 12 years, says he has decided to step down and be available to support his daughters and attend their activities.