Hope Clark returns for her fifth season at the helm of the Bobcat soccer program. Clark came to Milledgeville after three seasons as the head coach of the women’s soccer program at Auburn University Montgomery.
The 2013 Bobcat soccer campaign produced its second straight double digit winning season and a winning overall record. GC soccer finished 10-7-3 with a 5-4-2 conference mark, earning the No. 6-seed in the PBC Tournament. The Bobcats beat No. 3-seed Armstrong in the first round, and then No. 2-seed Columbus State 2-1 in the semifinals, the program’s first win against CSU. The Bobcats then fell during the championship game during a penalty-kick shootout against the No. 1 seed Clayton State.
In 2012, GC soccer finished 10-8-1 with a 5-5-1 conference mark, earning the No. 6-seed in the PBC Tournament. The Bobcats fell at Columbus State in the quarterfinals 3-0, but picked up three wins over nationally-ranked opponents, and an All-Region honoree during the season.
During the 2011 season, Clark pushed a young Bobcat team to a 5-14 mark, including a 4-6 record in the conference. The squad made the PBC Tournament as the No. 8-seed, and battled regular-season champ Armstrong to a 1-0 loss.
In 2010, the Bobcats went 7-7-3 overall with a 4-4-2 conference mark, advancing to the PBC Tournament. The year was highlighted with wins over nationally-ranked teams in #8 Armstrong Atlantic and #13 Florida Tech.
In her four seasons, Clark has put five players on the All-PBC Teams, adding five PBC All-Academic honorees. She's also coached three to All-Region status. Clark is 67-58-11 overall with a 32-36-7 mark for the Bobcats.
Clark compiled a 35-22-4 mark in her three years at AUM, including advancing to the second round of the 2009 NAIA National Championship Tournament. In her three seasons, the Lady Senators had seven All-Americans, six all-region players and 13 total all-conference honorees. In 2009, AUM was an impressive 15-5-2, falling by penalty-kick shootout in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Championship to the eventual 2009 National Champions. The Lady Senators opened the NAIA National Tournament with a 5-3 drubbing of Embry-Riddle before falling in the second round 3-2 to No. 3 California Baptist.
The 2007 Lady Senators, Clark’s first squad as a collegiate head coach, finished with a strong 14-5-1 record, advanced to the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament semifinals and earned a berth in the NAIA regional tournament. Clark’s 2008 team struggled through a tough regular-season schedule combined with injuries to finish just 6-12-1, but did advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament and produced the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Offensive Player of the Year, two first-team All-SSAC players and an All-American.
Clark has previously worked in Georgia, where she spent one year as head coach of varsity boys soccer at Spalding High School. Her collegiate coaching experience includes two seasons (2002-03) as an assistant at the University of Tampa, where she was directly responsible for the training and development of the Spartans’ goalkeepers. In both of her seasons at Tampa, UT’s goalie was voted second-team all-conference and the 2003 Tampa team reached the NCAA postseason.
Clark’s first collegiate coaching experience came as an assistant at American University in Washington, D.C., in 2000-01. In 2001, Clark’s work with the Eagles’ goalkeeper helped American earn a Patriot League co-championship and All-Patriot League and All-Patriot League Tournament honors for the student-athlete.
Clark spent 2004 through 2006 helping develop some of the top youth soccer talent in Georgia as a staff coach with the Olympic Development Program/Georgia Youth Soccer Association. In addition, she spent 2006 as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Glory United Football Club in Hampton, Ga., and 2004 and 2005 as director of goalkeeping and staff coach for the AFC Lightning Soccer Club in Fayetteville, Ga.
A native of Louisiana, the former Hope Handley played collegiate soccer as a goalkeeper at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. She was a member of VT’s first-ever recruiting class as a freshman in 1994 and lettered all four years at Tech. As a sophomore, Clark was selected as the Hokies’ most valuable player and named third-team All-Mid-Atlantic Region following a season in which she set the Atlantic-10 Conference single-season record for saves with 179. Clark was the first Tech women’s soccer player ever named All-Mid-Atlantic Region.
Clark played semi-professional soccer in 2005 and 2006 with the Atlanta Silverbacks in the women’s division of the United Soccer Leagues. She has been the assistant director of The Last Defense Goalkeeping Academy and worked with Region 3 Olympic Development Program on staff. Clark earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise science and health promotion from Virginia Tech and her master’s degree in fitness management from American University.
Clark holds a United States Soccer Federation “B” license and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Goalkeeping Diploma.
She is married to Richonne Clark, brother of US National Player Ricardo Clark. Hope and Richonne have a one-year-old girl, Zion. The Clarks reside in Milledgeville.