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APS fires Sandia girls soccer coach

Three days before the start of their 2018 season, Sandia High School fired its head girls soccer coach.

Troy Wheeler was dismissed Friday.

“It’s a personnel matter and I have no comment,” Matadors athletic director Brian Weems said in a text message Saturday.

The Journal did obtain a copy of a letter sent out to parents by Weems on Friday, which didn’t shed much light on Wheeler’s situation – beyond the confirmation that he was fired – or the reasons for his removal.

The timing could scarcely be worse for the Matadors, who open their 2018 season on Monday night against Cibola at the Albuquerque Metro Championships.

“It is with the deepest sadness than Troy Wheeler will no longer be the Head Coach for the Sandia Girls Soccer Team, effective immediately,” the letter stated. “APS HR (human resources) has terminated his contract.”

Jay Sheraden has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach for the time being. It was not immediately known if this is a season-long arrangement.

One of Sandia’s all-time great players, Victoria Barba, will be moved into the position of JV head coach.

“(Sandia principal) Mr. (Larry) D’Anza and I have the utmost confidence that coach Jay will do an excellent job in fulfilling the head coaches responsibility and what we expect here at Sandia HS, which is: Scholarship. Honor. Service,” Weems’ short, two-paragraph letter reads.

When reached for comment Saturday, Sheraden declined to comment, except to say that he and the team were focusing on the upcoming metro tournament. Wheeler did not respond to a Journal request for comment.

Wheeler had just taken over the program a few months ago, after spending five seasons at rival La Cueva.

He told the Journal in a recent interview that he expected Sandia, led by preseason All-American Hannah Gallegos, to have a terrific season.

The metro tournament has 16-team fields for boys and girls. The finals will be Friday, Sept. 7, at the APS Complex. The boys are 6:45 p.m., the girls at 7:15 p.m.

The semifinals for both genders are Sept. 5.