The number 200 has been a topic of conversation in the world of soccer this year.
On Monday night, Everton star Wayne Rooney became only the second player in English Premier League history to score 200 goals. The Dallas Cup, an annual international youth soccer tournament, took place in April and featured 200 teams from around the world.
For Mount Airy soccer coach Will Hurley, the number 200 will forever signify hard work, dedication, and family. With the Granite Bears’ 9-0 victory over North Wilkes last week, Hurley recorded his 200th win as a head coach.
Hurley began his coaching career in 2006 in Spivey’s Corner. It was here that he helped establish soccer programs at both the high school and middle school level. Hurley had the opportunity to work with players even as they progressed into Midway High School.
Hurley spent years building both programs to compete and thrive in the Super 6 conference. His efforts culminated when he led the Midway High girls’ soccer team to win the conference and make it to the third round of the playoffs.
Following five years with Midway High, Hurley moved northwest to become the coach of the Mount Airy girls’ soccer team and also took over the boys’ team in 2012. Hurley recounts his early years with the Lady Bears as one of the reasons that victory number 200 is so special to him.
“Normally, accomplishments like this aren’t glamorous [to me],” Hurley said. “But it was special in the fact that when I first came here, the girls were winning like three or four games a year. Then my first year we won six. We got a little bit better and won eight and then we won 10.”
Hurley continued, “It was a tough achievement when you’re looking at eight games a year. So we’ve turned those things around and really turned a corner.”
Reaching 200 wins is not something that Hurley set out to do when he began coaching. He said this milestone is simply a result of the commitment shown by his players in the past 12 years.
“It’s all about the kids for me, it always has been,” Hurley said. “We’ve got really good kids now, the Lord has blessed us really well.”
Hurley has passed his team-first attitude down to his players, telling them to worry about the team’s numbers first and that individual stats will fall in order with that.
In addition to having great players, Hurley reveled at the opportunity to combine his two loves of family and soccer. His oldest son, Holden, is an assistant with both the boys’ and girls’ teams. Hurley was also privileged to coach his youngest son, Wes.
Opposing coaches have praised Hurley and his accomplishments, including the former boys’ and girls’ soccer coach for East Surry, William Hart. Hart said he considered Hurley a great friend despite their schools’ rivalry.
“I consider Will to be one of my closest friends that happened to be a rival for eighty minutes,” Hart said. “I never wanted to do anything but beat his brains out when we played Mount Airy and he thought the same of me until the final whistle.”
As for his next 100 wins, Hurley looks forward to working with even more young athletes.
“You hate to see the old ones go, but it’s really neat because my thing is I like challenging my kids,” Hurley said. “I’m getting into those older years where I can actually say ‘Hey, come replace me.’ That’s what we’d like to see, those kids come back and keep the tradition going like that.”
Even though he looks forward to passing his knowledge to the next generation, Hurley made it clear that he is not ready to settle down just yet.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith