HOLLAND – Nick Heim is the new man coaching at Council Rock South. A long-time assistant coach who was hired two head coaches ago by Tim Keddie and Alan Nicholl, Heim has been part of the program since 2011 when the sport was played in the spring.
A freshman at CR South the school’s first year of existence in 2002 under Nicholl, the Golden Hawks boys soccer coach, Heim says several knee surgeries prevented him from playing collegiate soccer. But he graduated from Penn State in 2010 and has been on the staff ever since. He has club experience coaching the Ukrainian Nationals, a club organization based in Horsham.
Since taking over for former CR South coach Kimmy Francis, Heim says he’s made a few minor changes, but adds that for the most part, Francis established a strong foundation for the Golden Hawks when she started in 2012.
“I think we are benefitting now from what she has done here previously,” said Heim. “She has a great soccer mind. She played at the highest level – the University of Maryland – and was a college All-American.”
For Heim, a 2006 graduate of CR South, it’s all about displaying Hawks’ Pride.
“The girls see that I have a lot of pride in playing with the kids you grew up with,” he said. “So many of our girls play at a club level so this is their last chance to play with the kids they grew up with.
“The seniors have done a great job with it. They’ve turned it into a family atmosphere and they really care about one another.
“We’re trying to drive home the things that the seniors have started and that’s that there’s a lot of pride to wearing “South” across your jersey.”
CR South came away with its first win Sept. 5 when the Hawks got past Downingtown East, 2-1, on goals by senior Kiera Flanagan and sophomore Samantha Jones. South also toppled Hatboro-Horsham and CB South in two scrimmages.
“You can’t really take too much from those scrimmages. CB South is a very good opponent but they are trying out formations and we’re throwing kids in different spots.
“(Downingtown East) was really the first true test for us. We’re really excited to play against the highest level of competition and we’re lucky that Downingtown (East) is willing to travel.
Last year, the Cougars blanked CR South, 3-0, on their way to a 17-win season, a fifth-place finish in districts and a berth in states. The Hawks have competed against both Downingtown High School teams – East and West – for the past five seasons.
“It’s a great home and home series,” said Heim. “They do a great program, they’re well-coached, they’re respectful – they’re everything we want our program to be, as well.”
The Whippets visit CR South Oct. 9 at Walt Snyder Stadium.
At the University of Maryland where she played from 2002 to 2005, Francis was selected All- Atlantic Coast Conference four straight years and was a NSCAA Regional All-American in 2003. A four-time All-ACC selection and two-time regional All-American, Francis helped lead Maryland to three NCAA appearances, including advancing to the second round in 2002 and the third round in 2004.
Heim says the CR South program has benefitted from Francis’ college background. Last year, three players – Maria Buonomo (Mount Saint Mary’s), Kasey Schlupp (Jefferson) and Jesse Magee (West Chester), took their game to the college level.
“It’s nice when you have a lot of girls that come through the program that want to play in college to have a high school coach like Kimmy,” said Heim. “She really showed them what it takes to get to the next level.”
A two-time captain at Maryland, Francis was the Terps’ third all-time leading scorer with 67 points. After graduating from college, she played a midfield position with the Washington Freedom of the women’s pro soccer W-League. She also held an assistant coaching position for six years at Old Dominion.
At Council Rock High School, Francis tallied 52 goals and 40 assists in four campaigns that saw the Lady Indians post a record of 80-4-3. She was named an NSCAA All-American as a junior and senior and was named an NSCAA and Gatorade Pennsylvania State Player of the Year in 1999.
TOP PHOTO: Nick Heim is the new girls soccer coach at Council Rock South. A long-time assistant, he replaces outgoing skipper Kimmy Francis, who led the Golden Hawks from 2012 to 2016. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)