BLUE HILL—Steve Bemiss comes from humble coaching beginnings. When he first came back to the Blue Hill Peninsula 23 years ago, he was approached by a neighbor, who was also a YMCA director, about coaching a youth soccer team. He agreed, under the condition that she be his assistant. She said yes, and the two coached a “pretty good team” that season.
After coaching that team for a season, Bemiss stepped down and turned his attention to being a spectator of his son’s high school soccer career. Bemiss was asked to coach the GSA junior varsity boys soccer team shortly after, which marked the beginning of a slew of one-year JV coaching stints before finally landing the varsity coach position in the late 1990s.
“I knew I could coach because the first year we only lost one game and lost our second playoff game to a team up by Katahdin, who slide tackled my girls, and I think it scared them,” said Bemiss. “We lost 1-0.”
‘You can plan, but until that first game you just don’t know. That’s what keeps it fun.’
—Steve Bemiss, GSA girls soccer coach
Bemiss’s teams went to the state finals twice in those first years before 2004. Since then, the longtime coach has held the reins of the program. Through the ebbs and flows that come with the high school sports territory, Bemiss said his approach to coaching has stayed consistent.
“I don’t holler much,” said Bemiss regarding his sideline demeanor during games. “I like to let the girls try to work it out on the field themselves as much as they can. It helps them work together and understand the game a little more.”
Bemiss said it has been his experience that players develop and grow at their own pace, and that trying to coach each player the same can sometimes have its drawbacks.
“I think each player is unique and brings something different to the team, and you want to work with that and build on it so that all your players are giving you their all,” he said.
The game of soccer at the high school level has changed over Bemiss’s tenure, but, after almost two decades with the program, he still enjoys the atmosphere of an exciting match up, and, perhaps even more, the atmosphere of a cohesive team during practice and on the field.
“Our team this year, we started off slow, but I think we’re coming around,” he said. “You never really know year-to-year. You can plan, but until that first game you just don’t know. That’s what keeps it fun.”