Jefferson Forest coaching icon steps away from the game

Jedd Zaring is resigning as head coach after this season

FOREST, Va. – To grow a soccer program, teams have to start from the ground up. No one knows this better than Jefferson Forest head coach Jedd Zaring, who's stepping away from the game after 25 years.

"I just don't have the energy I used to have, so I think it's  time to turn it over to somebody that can come in like I did 25 years ago and take it to the next level," Zaring said.

Early in his career at J.F., Zaring, with some help from a few other coaches, planted the seed in the youth leagues, changing the way central Virginia played the game.

"At that point, they were playing 11 on 11 with 4-year-olds, 120 yard field. Full size goals, and we knocked it down to 3 v. 3 called 'micro-soccer.'"

With the youth leagues blossoming, so did the high school teams. Zaring took the varsity team to the state tournament eight times, and his dream for the sport in Forest came to fruition in 2011, when the Cavaliers won the state tournament for the first time.

"When that finally happened, and we won, I just fell on back and was like, 'I can't believe we won.' That was a great moment. My son was the captain of that team, and my older son was an assistant coach, so it was kind of a family thing. Kind of cool.

Over the years, his love for the game branched out to other coaches. Randy Turille worked under Zaring for four years before becoming the head coach at E.C. Glass.

"I'm certainly going to miss him, the competitive spirit he brings and everything he brought to Lynchburg soccer and for soccer, he's been a tremendous advocate for the game. He loves the game more than anything in the world," Turille said.

To the players coach Zaring is more than just a coach, he's a mentor and an inspiration they all look up to.

"When I was that age I was ball boy for a lot of their games and just watching their games I thought 'wow, one day I want to be just like them,' and here I am doing the things I've dreamed about for years now," said senior Zach Wiley who's committed to play soccer at VMI.

Before the Jeffereson Forest E.C. Glass rivalry  game, coaches and players who he's impacted throughout the years paid tribute to the long-time coach.

"I'm going to miss having him be a part of the spirit of the game and I don't know what it's going to like without him across the sidelines at J.F.  It's going to be very different. It won't take away the rivalry from the kids but it will take a little piece of me with him when he goes," Turille said.

Zaring will still teach at the high school, and while he will no longer have a hand in the soccer program, he will still be there to watch it reach new heights.