Thank you for your interest in and support of the Valley News. We need to raise $60,000 to host journalists Frances Mize and Alex Driehaus for their one-year placements in the Upper Valley through Report for America, a national service program that boosts local news by harnessing community support.

Please consider donating to this effort.

Sharon coach bringing a little London to new role

  • Grayson Levy, a 2013 Sharon Academy graduate, is taking the reins from Sharon Academy Athletic Director Blake Fabrikant as head coach of boys soccer. Levy rallies his team before the second half of their game with West Rutland in Sharon, Vt., on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Sharon Academy Captain Parker Bogardus, left, works the ball up the field past Gus Covarrubias, of West Rutland, right, during their game in Sharon, Vt., on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. West Rutland won 2-1. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Luke Miller, of Sharon, middle, brings a high pass under control as Noah Olson, left, and Braden Hogan, right, of West Rutland look on in Sharon, Vt., on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. West Rutland won 2-1. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Sharon Academy boys soccer Head Coach Grayson Levy, right, and sophomore Avry Loftus, left, watch as the Phoenix make an offensive push against West Rutland in Sharon, Vt., on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. West Rutland won 2-1. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/22/2022 9:47:46 PM
Modified: 9/22/2022 10:05:47 PM

SHARON — Blake Fabrikant figured a new era of Sharon Academy boys soccer could use a new head coach.

The Phoenix, who were a combined 20-7-1 the last two seasons, graduated an influential senior class headlined by Riley Eastman, Daniel Henderson and Jaxon Nichols. So Fabrikant, Sharon’s athletic director and dean of students who also coached boys basketball for 12 years and track and field for the last two, decided to turn the program over to assistant Grayson Levy.

“My kids are 4 and 2, so it’s really important that I’m home before their bedtime,” Fabrikant said. “I’m here at 8 in the morning, and a lot of times don’t leave until 7 or 8 at night.

“Culturally, the program has changed a lot. We lost four kids who were all-state last year. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I felt like giving Grayson a chance to shine with a group that’s still learning, it felt like a better fit.”

Levy arrived at Sharon as a freshman in 2009 — the same year Fabrikant took over as junior varsity soccer coach for the Phoenix. After two years under Fabrikant on JV, Levy played for Rob Stainton on the varsity team, graduating in 2013.

His postgraduate plans took him far away from home — a gap year in London, where he took part in the Coach Development Programme with Arsenal Football Club and received an English coaching certification.

“That was an amazing experience. Coaching has always been something I’ve been very interested in, so it really thrust me into that world, and I’ve never looked back,” Levy said.

“I knew I wanted to take a year off before I went to college; I just wasn’t sure what that was going to look like. We found this program through Arsenal, and I was like, ‘This sounds way too good to be true.’ ”

Through the program, Levy and the other coaches worked with Arsenal’s youth teams and learned about the tactics commonly taught in England, and he was inspired to bring that level of competition and quality back to Vermont. He returned to the United States after six months abroad to earn his coaching license through U.S. Soccer, then got his first coaching opportunity as a club assistant with the now-defunct Exit 2 Soccer Club near Sharon.

Levy then headed to Roanoke College in Virginia, receiving a degree in sport management before returning to Sharon and being hired by Fabrikant — the varsity soccer coach by then — to lead the JV team. A year later, the Phoenix were forced to eliminate the JV squad because of a lack of numbers, so Levy joined Fabrikant’s staff as an assistant.

“It’s another full-circle moment because a lot of (the current seniors) are the same guys who were on that JV team as freshmen,” Levy said. “It’s just nice to work with these guys again.”

Fabrikant stepped away from coaching basketball last season because his wife wanted him home more, and he hired Dave Brown to succeed him. This year, he has left soccer behind as well, though he still operates the clock during games and could be heard during Wednesday’s home date with West Rutland asking Levy to explain some of his coaching decisions.

With just 13 players on the roster, Sharon is lacking in depth this year, and that was further tested when senior midfielder Jack Lloyd went down with an injury on Wednesday. The Phoenix have struggled to a 1-3-0 start, beating rival White River Valley on the road but losing to a West Rutland team that came in having dropped 19 straight games.

“He knows so much about the game,” Fabrikant said. “He’s finding his footing right now. He’s learning, as are these guys. This isn’t the most beautiful brand of soccer you’re going to see, so the learning process goes both ways, but he has the makings to be a great coach.”

Senior Parker Bogardus, a four-year varsity player, said Levy has more soccer-specific knowledge compared to Fabrikant, but with a relatively inexperienced roster, practices have emphasized the basics and fundamentals — especially considering the team’s fitness is not where it was last year, in his view.

Levy, also Sharon’s assistant athletic director, said he hopes to get an AD job down the line, but for now, he’s happy to be coaching his alma mater.

“I couldn’t have told you five years ago I’d be doing this,” Levy said. “It’s been a very nice welcoming home to the school and to the program and the community. I’m excited to keep it going, and I am hopeful that we’ll be able to string together enough good results that we can turn the season into something special.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.




Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-8711

 

© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy