Victor Boyce was a senior linebacker on the first and only undefeated Ripley High School football team back in 1989.
For the past seven years, he’s been a fixture in a very successful Ripley High soccer program under the guidance of the classy Tim Ross.
As the 2020 season approaches, Boyce finds himself leading the way as the school’s head coach. Ross stepped down earlier this year after 10 very rewarding seasons at the the helm.
“When Remy (his son) was four years old I started coaching in 2003 (at the youth level),” said Boyce. “I fell in love with soccer. I had no clue (about the sport). I had to learn on the fly. I watched every video and read every book.”
And as he’s coached the sport all this time, Boyce certainly knows plenty as he takes over leadership of Viking soccer.
“It (soccer) reminds me of basketball,” Boyce said. “They are exactly the same sport.”
It kind of hit him while coaching indoor soccer.
“It was so fast-paced,” Boyce said. “I really, really fell in love with that and incorporated that to the big field.”
Ripley soccer has scored a lot of goals the past few years and in his first season as the Viking head coach Boyce hopes the trend will continue.
As he entered this initial campaign as the man in charge several standouts are missing from the 2019 squad due to graduation. One of those is another of his sons, Broedy, who an All-Stater scoring 28 goals last year.
“Kaegun Jackson, a two-time Honorable Mention All-Stater, goal keeper Carter Casto, an “All-State caliber player” according to Boyce, and Matt Bowlby.
Boyce, whose coaching days also include being head coach for the Ripley Middle School baseball program (a position he no longer holds), feels he has a good crop of players back.
The numbers, though, are a bit on the low side with just 15 dotting the roster.
Seniors out are Ian Gainer (forward/midfield), Wes Hopper (forward/midfield) and Daniel Goodreau (goal keeper).
The junior class is comprised of Anderson Phillips (midfield), Noah Kessell (midfield/defender), Jake Harvey (forward), Carter Cochran (defender) and Wyatt White (midfield).
Sophomores are Jacob Banton (forward), Nic Hill (goal keeper) and Aiden Greathouse (defender).
The freshmen members are Parker Cobb (defender), Dillon Casto (defender), Max Meadows (midfield) and Hayden Hughes (defender).
Boyce says the players will likely be manning multiple positions.
“I really feel confident in them (his players),” Boyce said “I’m running them a lot. They are all under seven and a half minutes in the mile. I’m really proud of them.
“We don’t have a lot of numbers, so they will have to be interchangeable. Every guy I have is a varsity guy as far as I’m concerned.”
Ripley is slated to open its season at Huntington High September 5. The match is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The home opener at Memorial Stadium is September 10 with Parkersburg at 6 p.m.
Ripley Viking Varsity Soccer Schedule (Subject to change)
• September 5 Huntington, Away, 1 p.m.
• September 10 Parkersburg, Home, 6 p.m.
• September 12 South Charleston, Away, Noon
• September 15 Sissonville, Home, 6:30 p.m.
• September 19 Wheeling Park, Away, 11 a.m.
• September 22 Athens, Away, 6 p.m.
• September 24 GW, Away, 6:30 p.m.
• September 28, Lewis County, Home, 7 p.m.
• September 30, Greenbrier East, Home, 6:30 p.m.
• October 3, University, Away, 1 p.m.
• October 6, Winfield, Away, 6 p.m.
• October 8, Princeton, Home, 6 p.m.
• October 10, Parkersburg South, Home, 11 a.m.
• October 13, Ravenswood, Home, 6:30 p.m.
• October 15, Hurricane, Home, 6 p.m.