STEUBENVILLE – Director of Athletics Mike Holmes has announced that former women's soccer head coach Clare McBane will step down and former assistant coach Bernardo Gonzalez will take over as head coach, effective immediately.
Coach McBane has spent the last nine years with the women's soccer program, four as a player and the last five years as head coach. Under McBane's guidance, the Lady Barons are 47-41-4 and McBane leaves as the all-time winningest coach in program history. McBane took the Lady Barons to three AMCC tournaments, including the conference title game and an ECAC tournament in 2017. In 2014, McBane was honored by the AMCC as the Coach of the Year and she has seen 21 players earn all-conference honors.
"The biggest thing, right off the bat, is that Franciscan women's soccer has shaped the woman that I am," remarked McBane. "Because of my four years playing here and the coaches I had and then getting married, having a child, and another one on the way while coaching I think makes me the wife and the mother that I am. It has taught me a lot of discipline, a lot of virtue, a lot of strength, and overall it has taught me how to trust in the Lord."
Coach McBane will hand the reigns over to Coach Gonzalez, who served as the assistant coach for the 2017 season.
"I feel like in the last five years we have come so far from where I have even started," continued Coach McBane. "We have surpassed my little dreams significantly and I feel like I have been so blessed. The Lord has given so abundantly and the team is almost unrecognizable to me in a very good sense, in that I have seen them grow and morph into a team that every alumnus from our team is so proud of.
"I think that in the last five years of coach I have grown a lot, but as life is asking other things of me, I have seen areas where someone can take the team even further. This past year, I was blessed with the opportunity to have Coach Bernardo working with me. From day one, I was just so pleasantly astonished by his wisdom, knowledge of the game, his maturity beyond his years and his professionalism. The way that he is able to step into a role of leadership and the way he is able to command respect while still letting them know that they are loved and listened to, I think that is significant as a male leader for a female team."
Coach Gonzalez came to the team last year as an assistant coach but is a former member of the men's soccer team at Franciscan. Gonzalez played for the Baron from 2011-12 and in 2014. In his career, Gonzalez played in 28 games while making six starts. Gonzalez has one goal to his credit in his three seasons.
"It is just funny how you can look back and see God's hand in everything," commented Coach Gonzalez. "I had another opportunity this time last year when I was deciding on the assistant coaching job and I wasn't sure if I had the time to put into coaching but I said it to the team you stand on the shoulders of those that came before you. This team would be nowhere without Clare right now. The hope is to continue that progress and to make women who are athlete ambassadors to everyone we encounter. The hope is to spread God's joy while getting to do something they love. And to deep runs into the playoffs and win championships, but that's something we love to do as well."
Gonzalez' first year at the helm of the Lady Barons will officially kick off when the Lady Barons host Thiel in the season opener on September 1 at 1:00 pm.