Steamboat Springs Even though he had coached boys soccer for 12 years, Rob Bohlmann was still bombarded with suggestions when he agreed to take over the girls program at Steamboat Springs High School.
"After I got the girls' job, there was so much advice," Bohlmann said. "There are a few differences (coaching boys and girls). But all in all it's the same a group of athletes playing soccer."
Bohlmann is replacing coach Jim Dudley, who started the girls program 12 years ago and turned it into one of the best programs on the Western Slope. The Sailors have made the playoffs the past eight years in a row and won the 1998 state championship under Dudley. He coached last year's team to a 14-2-1 record and a quarterfinal appearance in the state playoffs, where Steamboat lost 1-0 to Broomfield 1-0 in a shootout.
Because Dudley built such a strong program, Bohlmann said the coaching change was a smooth transition.
"Right off the bat it made the job very easy. Jim (Dudley) and (assistant coach) John (Hawes) over the past 10 years have done a tremendous job building a tradition with the program," Bohlmann said. "It made it very easy to step in."
Dudley, who left the program to spend more time with his family, said Bohlmann is the type of coach he hoped would replace him. In the dozen years they have coached together in Steamboat, Dudley said he has gone to Bohlmann for advice.
With a focus on a possession-style game of soccer that relies on clean passing, Bohlmann said his coaching philosophy is very similar to the one the girls team has had for the past 12 years.
"I'd say some of things that (the boys team is) doing are very similar to what Jim and John have done in the past," Bohlmann said. "What we had with the boys and what we did with the boys in many cases Jim and John did with the girls."
One of the changes Bohlmann is making is shifting the lineup from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2. He said a system that has two forwards in the front and a solid four-player midfield will help the Sailors keep possession of the ball and have a strong midsection.
Although Bohlmann has never coached a girls team full time before, he is a familiar face to the 19 girls on his team. Bohlmann has worked with many of them in Steamboat's youth soccer programs and camps.
With Bohlmann comes a turnover in the coaching staff. Hawes retired with Dudley and last year's junior varsity coach, Danny Trebbenkamp, will fill that position.
Bohlmann also said Stephanie Hughes, a former player at the University of Washington, will make major contributions on the coaching staff. Pio Utu also worked with the team during the preseason with speed and conditioning programs.