WILLIAMSTOWN - Mike Albertson, who has been a major part of the growth in soccer in the Williamstown area for many years, will take over the reigns as head coach of the Williamstown Yellowjacket soccer team in 2011.
Albertson, who formed the Williamstown Youth Soccer Club almost 10 years ago, will replace Bob Winkler as coach of the co-ed team.
"Soccer has been a huge part of my life for a number of years," said Albertson, who moved to the area from Washington D.C.
"I look forward to the opportunity."
Albertson was born and raised in Erie, Pa., and played soccer in Erie before beginning his collegiate career at Gannon University.
While at Gannon, Albertson lettered all four years and was also named a two-time conference all-star for the Division II school.
After graduating from college, Albertson and his wife Kathy lived in Washington D.C. before a job transfer moved them to Williamstown.
Albertson will take over a soccer team that shows much promise for the 2011 season, despite coming off of a 6-15 record in 2010.
"Last year our team took it's lumps, but also gained a lot of experience as well," said Albertson of his team which had zero seniors in 2010 but will feature 12 in 2011.
"We will have a lot of experience at the key skill positions."
Last years team was able to pull off a win against St. Marys in the sectional tournament, before bowing out to Ravenswood in the second round for the second time in as many seasons.
One major challenge for the Yellowjackets will again be the fact that some of the larger schools that they play will be all "boy" teams while Williamstown will again be a co-ed team.
"Our girls hold their own against the all-boys teams," said Albertson. "As a matter of fact two of our girls made honorable mention all-state last year."
Williamstown's Emily Kettle and Megan Albertson, the daughter of the new Williamstown coach joined goal-keeper Andrew Essig as honorable mention all-state selections a year ago.
Albertson will not only get the opportunity to coach Megan again this year, but will also get the chance to coach his younger daughter Heather, a freshman on the 2011 team.
Albertson expects nine juniors to join his 12 seniors in 2011, and also plans to see an improvement on the defensive side when practices gets under way this week.
"The main thing we plan to stress is to improve the overall defense," said Albertson, who will have just over three weeks to prepare his team for the upcoming season.
Williamstown is scheduled to open the 2011 season on August 23when it will host Sissonville.