Smyrna soccer coach Ryan Buchanan is named the State and Henlopen Conference "Coach of the Year".

Smyrna’s girls’ soccer coach Ryan Buchanan was named the 2014 State Girls’ Soccer Coach of the Year. He was also named the Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year for this season.

Buchanan, who hails from the Newark-Bear area, graduated from Glasgow High School and the University of Delaware. He’s taught English at Smyrna for 13 year, “The one and only job I’ve had since I graduated from college.”

He added that his favorite book to read and teach about is “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Buchanan has coached girls’ soccer at Smyrna for ten seasons. Previously, he also helped coach the boys Junior Varsity team with Athletic Director William Schultz. He stepped down from the boys’ post for two wonderful reasons; he’s now the father of two daughters.

Coaching soccer at Smyrna has been a rewarding experience for Buchanan.

“The first couple years I took over the program, our record was not that great, but, we’ve been pretty consistent the last couple of years with nine or ten wins, and once we won 11 games,” said Buchanan.

“We’re still a young program, but we are very conscience of our history as a team.

We work hard and we set goals,” he said.

When a team reaches nine or ten wins, it usually is enough to get a berth in the state tournament.

“This year we achieved that goal. We had some very good senior leaders, but we also had several freshmen on the varsity team, so we had five seniors and four freshman, and the other nine players were sophomores and juniors, so that’s the way to sustain the success of the program, and that gives us hope for the future,” he added.

Buchanan said that from his perspective, girls’ soccer has changed, and improved, over the years. “We’ve changed formations over the years, and defense is always important, but you can’t win any games either without scoring, but also, you don’t lose if you don’t give up a goal. So philosophically, our defense wants to get a shutout each game, and our offense wants to score every game. If that happens, things will break your way,” he said. In 2014 the Lady Eagles recorded eight defensive shutouts, and two more games where they only gave up one goal.

Buchanan added that another key to the team’s success is an improved schedule, “This year we played five of the teams involved in the state tournament, so after conference games, we get to chose our opponents and we’re choosing a more difficult schedule, and that will ultimately strengthen our program.”