National recognition: Federation honors Green Forest’s Wilson
For Green Forest girls soccer coach Ashley Wilson, the success of last year’s Lady Tigers team and the individual honors that resulted from that success are about a lot more than just one year.
“There was more to it than just last year and not just on my side,” Wilson said. “This is my seventh year as hea coach. It takes time. It’s been a process of working hard and working with players and them working with me. It wasn’t just a last-year thing. It’s a combination of things.”
Wilson led the Lady Tigers to the championship game of the Class 3A state tournament last season. Harding Academy defeated Green Forest 6-2, but the Lady Tigers’ success didn’t go unnoticed. Less than a month later, Wilson was named the Arkansas High School Coaches Association 2021 Outstanding Girls Soccer Coach. Earlier this month, the National Federation of High School Associations Coaches Association named Wilson the Girls National Soccer Coach of the Year for the state of Arkansas.
“It feels good,” Wilson said. “Someone actually slipped up and told me about it, and I thought it was the same thing from earlier this year. Then I saw the letter and realized it was a different award. It’s nice because it does help put some good recognition to the girls here and to the school.”
“It’s a big deal and a big accomplishment for her,” said Green Forest athletic director Greg Tibbitt, who also is head football coach for the Tigers.
Green Forest’s boys soccer team won the Class 3A state championship last season under first-year coach Eric Perez, and Tibbitt said he won’t be surprised if both Green Forest teams return to the state championships.
“We’re expecting big things for both coach Wilson and coach Perez this spring,” Tibbitt said.
As for Wilson, she plans to carry herself in the same manner she expects from her players.
“Be proud, but not cocky,” she said.