TOWNSEND — The mention of Charlie Valacer’s name resonates loudly throughout Central Massachusetts High School soccer circles, as he has guided the Groton-Dunstable girls to among the elite in the District over his 22-year career.
Valacer has been on watch as the Lady Crusaders advanced from Division 3 all the way into the shark-infested waters of Division 1. In their two seasons at the Division 1 level, plus in tough MidWach B, the Lady Crusaders have more than held their own under the tutelage of Valacer.
The 2007 fall season will see a change as Valacer will be moving to North Middlesex Regional High School to take charge of the girls varsity soccer program. Valacer resides in Townsend with his wife Ann, daughters Sarah and Emily, and son Stephen.
“It has been difficult to share family time with my three children and being a little closer to home will allow me to see more of them playing sports,” said Valacer. “Every time a soccer position opened up at North Middlesex, it was a consideration. My daughter Sarah has been named a senior captain on the North Middlesex girls soccer team next year, and this is just the right time to make the move.”
Stephen is a seventh grader and Emily a fourth grader and they will be heading to North Middlesex in the future. Being around them was a strong consideration in the move.
Valacer has some work to do in getting to know the players in the North Middlesex program, but he doesn’t enter the situation blindly.
“I have been a coach or assistant coach of my kids’ teams in the Townsend Youth Soccer Association,” Charlie said. “I don’t know a lot about the kids in the North Middlesex program, but I’m sure I coached some of them in travel soccer through TAYSA. I will have to learn about the kids and what they can do.”
While the Groton-Dunstable girls soccer program has enjoyed a smooth transition to Division 1, the North Middlesex program is looking to regain its role as an impact player in both MidWach A and Division 1.
“The level of competition in B is very similar to A,” said Valacer. “It presents a different challenge and we will depend on both Townsend Youth Soccer and Pepperell Youth Soccer to be strong feeder systems. I want to get out this spring and watch the kids play, as well as talk to the coaches.”
Valacer plans on employing the same philosophy at North Middlesex that he did at Groton-Dunstable.
“School comes first, family comes second and team comes third,” he said. “Most of the quality players I have coached have also been quality students. It is important to have a good set of team rules and to treat everyone equally. It is vital that the players put team ahead of self. I plan on bringing the same thing to North Middlesex that I brought to Groton-Dunstable. The facilities are a little better at North Middlesex, which should make my job easier.”
What is the new coach’s goal at North Middlesex?
“My goal is to help the program get better,” said Valacer. “It will be a challenge, but we just need to build some confidence.”
How tough was the decision for Valacer?
“It was a very difficult decision as I have had nothing as far as good times as far as girls soccer is concerned at Groton-Dunstable,” he said. “Also every athletic director and principal was easy to work with because they were so supportive. I am very fortunate that my wife has been so supportive through the years. It is time for me to be a fan and to support my kids.”
“It is something we talked about for a long time and it was a family decision,” said Ann Valacer. “I think it’s always been in the back of his mind and Sarah being a senior next year made the time right. It’s going to be a lot different for me because this is the community we live in, but I am very happy with the decision.”
“Charlie is a local guy who knows North Middlesex Regional High School well,” said North Middlesex Athletic Director Tim McCormick. “He has more than 20 years of varsity high school experience and he is a proven winner. He is a good fit for our District and I believe he is the right person for the job.”