By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Kevin McInnis
Since the beginning of the 2014 UHSAA girls soccer state tournament, the team at Davis High has been untouchable. It’s easy to write off success completely to amazing talent, which the Dart clearly have, and suggest the ease of coaching that team, but when the win streak extends beyond two full seasons, you can’t ignore the greatness of the man on the sidelines.
The success Davis has found on the soccer field, running the table in 2016 after doing the same a year earlier, makes head coach Soulivanh Phongsavath our 2016-2017 Anython Girls Team Coach of the Year.
Riding a 44-game win streak into the 2017 season, and looking to continue what is present a three-year championship run, Phongsavath has turned Davis into the state’s elite soccer superpower. Phongsavath’s girls teams have won 146 games since he took the helm in Kaysville in 2008 and he is sending players to the next level on a regular basis.
The players have come and gone over this three year run of dominance, but regardless who Phongsavath has put on the pitch, his teams just continue to win. Perhaps the hardest part of the job when a team has so much talent is getting players to put the team first. One sure sign of that is the record midfielder Mikayla Colohan set as a senior in 2016.
Perfectly skilled in scoring goals (she had 28), Colohan finished last season with an incredible 35 assists, as junior teammate Olivia Wade found the back of the net 39 times. The Darts were led by elite seniors like Madi Garlock (2014), Ireland Dunn (2015), Colohan and Regyn Youngberg (2016) who all set aside some personal statistical ambition to ensure team success, and that allowed other players to shine.
As much as Davis is known for its high-scoring nature – the Darts scored 120 goals in 2016 after burying 109 in 2015 – Phongsavath has really built this all because his teams can really defend. His 2015 squad was anchored in the back by seniors Haylee Cacciacarne and Jamie Alvarez and perhaps the best collection of defenders we have seen in some time.
All four starters graduated, and the 2016 team picked up right where its predecessors left off. Both of those teams allowed a total of eight goals over the entire season.
New challenges await Phongsavath in 2017, when his team will try to make it four in a row, including the loss of not only its senior class, but of players who would have been the senior leaders of the next team. That means Wade will not back to help the coach go for another title as she is devoting her time to competitive club soccer as she prepares for college soccer and looks to continue her U.S. national team presence.
That said, Phongsavath keeps finding a way, and the 2016 results viewed along with an incredible three-year run, make him our 2016-2017 Anython Girls Team Coach of the Year.