Longtime Ashland youth soccer coach Thierry Chouard was recently named the Boys Classic Coach of the Year.




Chouard, who says he's coached in Ashland for the last eight years or so, was picked from a pool of more than 6,500 coaches. He currently coaches Ashland's U-12 Classic team and a U-14 recreation team.




"My first reaction was surprise because I didn't know I (was nominated)," he said.




Chouard added that the award underscores the support he receives from parents.




"The parents are telling you that they love what you're doing for their kids," he said, "and that's what it's all about."




Chouard, who has also been an assistant coach for the Ashland High boys varsity team and the head junior varsity coach, was honored at a ceremony in Portland on Jan. 26. Other awards given out included Volunteer of the Year and Parent of the Year.




Chouard moved to Ashland in 1994 and has played soccer for about 40 years. Knowing the game as a player and teaching it as a coach, he says, are two different things.




"Coaching is teaching, so a lot of good players don't have a clue how to coach, and quite a few not-so-talented players know a lot about coaching," he said.