AYER -- There are a few new faces in Ayer-Shirley athletics this fall and recently named boys' soccer head coach Scott Snow is one of them.
Snow comes to the Panthers' soccer program by way of Dallas, Texas, where he was a two-sport athlete in both soccer and football at Garland Catholic High School. Snow is an Army combat veteran, who served in Iraq as a noncommissioned officer.
As for adapting to the Panthers soccer program, he is on cloud nine.
"I am enjoying it only after two practices," said Snow. "The job sort of popped up when we were looking for a job for my sister. I love soccer.
"I enjoy playing soccer. I thought my experience as a noncommissioned officer in the military and my time playing college soccer would make me a good coach. It is something I have always wanted to do. It sort of fell in our lap and I said, let's see what happens."
Snow is a graduate of Harding University, a Div. 2 school located in Searcy, Ark., where he played three-seasons as a midfielder. Snow broke his jaw during practice as a sophomore. When he returned for his junior season, he saw limited time.
"That sort of ended my career for the most part," said Snow. "After playing soccer and right before graduating college, I got married. A year later, I joined the Army and in 2008, I went to Iraq."
In 2010 Snow retired from the Army and took a job as a civilian defense contractor in 2011.
Snow traveled to Afghanistan with that position and upon his return, he took a job on Fort Devens in November of 2012. He was hired at the end of last week by athletic director Jon Sweeney, who was told to find a replacement for former head coach Mike Donahue.
"We have only had two practices(more at time of publication) because I got hired on very recently," the coach said. "For the most part, they seem to be in reasonably good shape. They are a good group of kids who enjoy soccer and being around each other.
"They have worked really hard for me," Snow said. "I am looking to bring out the hard-working aspect of kids. They can have all the talent in the world, but if they don't work hard, they are going to get lazy.
"I am looking to show them how to work really hard and put forth 100 percent effort in every game, no matter if we are winning by 10 or losing by 10. I want kids out there who are going to run, until they can't run any more."
Under Snow, the Panthers offense will likely work the ball from the back-line with a more possession-based attack.
"My team is really strong in the middle," the coach said. "The center, our fullback, center midfielder and the center-forward are really strong. We are going to try and push everything through them and our role players will fill out the team. I've got some really good role players who will be able to contribute as well."
Not growing up in New England, arriving here is a welcomed change for the native Texan. The Panthers soccer community has already embraced the new coach with open arms.
"I am a new face from the south, it is exciting to be up here in Massachusetts," the coach explained. "I have only got to talk to a few parents. They seem really excited to see what I have to offer as far as coaching their boys in soccer. I have parents that are willing to help. The parents have a lot of faith in the team and are excited to have a new coach."
In 2012, the Panthers finished with a 2-11-1 mark. Ayer-Shirley opens its first game of the Snow-era on Sept. 9, at home, against Parker Central Charter School.