Friday, May 29, 2009

WRHS picks Conrad as girls’ soccer coach

Local women’s soccer star and youth coach gets nod

Express Staff Writer

Jenni Conrad, playing for the Laurent Perrier women’s soccer team four years ago during an Atkinson Park mid-summer tournament, is the new Wood River High School girls’ varsity soccer coach.

Wood River High School activities director John Rade on Thursday announced the hiring of Jenni Conrad, 39, as the new girls' varsity soccer coach at the Hailey school.

Hailey resident Conrad becomes only the fourth coach, and second female coach, in the 16-year history of one of Idaho's premier girls' soccer programs. Wood River has a 205-53-24 record in those 16 seasons, including state soccer championships in 1995 and 2000 and a second-place state finish in 2003.

"I am so excited," said Conrad, selected from a pool of four candidates. "I'm inheriting a very motivated and athletic group of girls who have a lot of enthusiasm. I've been in the valley long enough to have established relationships with these kids and their families."

The new coach has also coached local youth in ice hockey and gymnastics in addition to kids' soccer. She has been married to general contractor Paul Conrad for 14 years. The couple has two children, Gus, 13, and Eli, 12.

For eight years Jenni has owned and operated the Ketchum-based Five Star Kitchen Design. A sturdy defender, quick and tough to knock off her feet, she has been one of the best women's recreational soccer players since moving here 19 years ago.

As a sweeper, she was an All-State soccer player as a junior and senior at Waterford High School in Waterford, Conn. She played four years of NAIA college soccer at Green Mountain in Vermont, graduating in 1991. She was starting sweeper for all of her four years there.

"I realize I have big shoes to fill," said Conrad, referring to outgoing coach Greg Gvozdas (79-16-6), the winningest coach in Wolverine annals. Gvozdas resigned his coaching position this past winter to spend more time with his family. He remains a Blaine County School District middle school teacher.

Conrad planned a "meet-and-greet" with Wolverine girls' soccer players Thursday, after school, and will then schedule a meeting with parents. Practices start in August.

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