You won’t hear Richmond girls soccer coach Troy Kendrick berating his players during games or practices. That’s just not his style. But after 25 years on the sidelines, he knows how to get his point across.

“He’s very laid back, but you know when enough is enough,” junior striker Amber Loon said. “He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.”

Kendrick fields a competitive team every year. In his 25 seasons at Richmond, the Bobcats have won nine state championships. They had a streak of three in a row going into this season, but weren’t expected to contend for a title after graduating eight starters.

They surprised their fans by reaching the Class D state championship for the fourth year in a row and giving heavily favored Washburn all it wanted before bowing out 2-1. For his efforts Kendrick has been selected Kennebec Journal Girls Soccer Coach of the Year. Also considered were Monmouth’s Gary Trafton, Maranacook’s Mike Morin and Hall-Dale’s Guy Cousins.

Last spring, the Bobcats graduated a talented senior class that had won a number of state titles in soccer and softball and Kendrick wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I knew there was going to be a learning curve,” he said. “But I was optimistic because I knew we’d be athletic. It was almost a good trade-off.”

By the time the playoffs came around, the Bobcats were able to employ Kendrick’s short-passing, possession style game quite well. It’s been a point of emphasis for the Bobcats in a league that often features kick and run teams.

“It always centers around that,” he said. “We spend a lot of time on ball skills and try to work it program wide.”

Kendrick knows his players by the time they reach high school. He coaches at an indoor league for middle school players during the winter. And his assistants, Phil Houdlette and Ryan Gardner, are involved with the middle school as well.

Richmond had a couple of scorers this season in Loon and Kelsea Anair and an experienced goalkeeper in Kelsie Obi, but Kendrick was concerned about his midfield. He pieced together a group of two freshmen, a sophomore and a senior and it eventually became a team strength.

“Those kids really developed,” he said. “Another big piece was developing some leaders and coming together as a team. By the midpoint of the season I was pleased the way some leaders had stepped to the front.”

The Bobcats graduate three seniors and should be the team to beat in Western Maine next season. It’s a role they’ve become familiar with while Kendrick has been head coach.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638[email protected]Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ

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