Laney Kolek wasn’t immediately thinking of herself as a trailblazer, but there was certainly credence to that theory that she is one.
“Maybe that thought will set in in a couple of days,” she said. “It’s definitely unique.”
Kolek, 40, entered extremely rare territory on Saturday afternoon. The list of women who have coached a boys varsity program to a state championship in New Mexico is extremely small, but Kolek joined this club when the team she coaches, Albuquerque Academy, won the Class 5A boys soccer title with a 2-0 victory over Los Alamos at the APS Complex.
Los Alamos, ironically, had the last woman to coach a boys soccer team into a state final with Ann Cernicek in 2003 (and also 1995).
Kolek has led Academy into the finals in each of the last three seasons, but this was her first championship with the Chargers.
Could others follow her trail? It’s already been an interesting year on that front, since the NFL has its first female official (Sarah Thomas), a woman (Jen Welter) served time on the Arizona Cardinals’ coaching staff during the offseason, and Becky Hammon was given the reins to coach the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs summer-league program.
“That’s the thing,” Kolek said. “There are several (women) coaches out there that are highly qualified to do this job.”
– James Yodice
TRAVEL PLANS: Taos’ senior scoring machine, Aidan Cserhat, closed his prep career on Saturday.
Next stop: Seville, Spain.
There, he hopes to turn professional and play this sport for money. He leaves in January.
“I decided to move to Spain instead of going the normal college route,” said Cserhat, who scored 50 regular-season goals for Taosl. “I didn’t want my career to end in four years.”
He hopes to find his way onto a Spanish pro league roster, or at least one of their player development academies – a scenario not unlike that seen with MLS franchises.
“I just want to go and see what happens,” he said. “I think there has to be a belief, a confidence, going in. You can’t be scared. But it is a risk. I’m going off the deep end.”
Cserhat turns 17 next month. He said he would give it 18 months to two years to fulfill his dream.
– James Yodice
FAMILY CONTRIBUTIONS: In Klaus Weber’s 14 years at Bosque School, he’s been in the championship game seven times. And he’s won it three times, thanks in part to the Gay family.
Kyle Gay scored the game-winner in Friday’s semifinal match against Sandia Prep.
And his older brother, Derek Gay, played on the state championship teams in 2008 and 2009.
“It’s exactly what we wanted,” Kyle Gay said. “Me and my brother can share that together, winning a state championship with Klaus.”
– Glen Rosales