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The prospect of being able to implement his coaching philosophies at not just one, but two brand-new soccer programs made Shane Smith comfortable with the idea of leaving Silver Creek.

The fact that Smith lives practically walking distance from Erie High School will make his new job that much sweeter.

Erie athletic director Richie Wildenhaus has announced that Smith, who served as Silver Creek’s boys soccer coach the past three seasons, will lead the new boys and girls soccer programs slated to begin play at Erie during the 2014-15 school year.

“It was an attractive situation being able to get one person who was able and excited to take over both programs,” Wildenhaus said. “Also, his expectations are not that we’re going to struggle out of the gate. We have realistic goals about our programs, but he’s like me in that he shares the idea that even though its going to be the first year, we expect to compete.

“He has a very clear plan for how he’ll come in and build the programs at Erie.”

Smith compiled a 28-17-5 record in three seasons leading the Silver Creek boys team, a mark that includes a 16-5-3 ledger in Northern League play. The Raptors reached the Class 4A state tournament in each of Smith’s three seasons at the helm, reaching the second round in 2011 and 2013.

Smith made it clear that, despite the improved geographical logistics from his home, the opportunity to lead both programs at Erie played a key role in his decision to leave Silver Creek.

“The excitement of having the challenge of developing two programs from the very beginning, and setting the standards we want for the future, was very intriguing,” Smith said. “It’s an opportunity to build a culture there from the ground up. That was a major part of the equation.”

Smith said he held a meeting the other day with his Silver Creek players to inform them of his decision, and that another meeting is scheduled for April 22 to meet his new players, and their parents, at Erie.

Meanwhile at Silver Creek, Raptors athletic director Marty Tonjes said the opening for his school’s boys soccer opening has already been posted and that, ideally, Smith’s replacement will be in the fold before the summer.

“We’ll sit back and look at the quality of candidates and go from there,” Tonjes said. “If we have to take our time with it, we will. But I fully expect this to be filled by the summer. We’ve already had great interest in the opening, and I expect to get a quality candidate for a quality program.”

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