Gaff Leyland resigns as girls' soccer coach at La Salle Prep
Adam "Gaff" Leyland has resigned as girls' soccer coach at La Salle Prep after leading the Falcons to the 2016 OSAA Class 5A state championship.
Leyland, one of the region's most-respected youth coaches, told school officials that his duties as Director of Coaching with the Eastside Timbers Football Club as well as responsibilities as a coach with the Thorns FC Development Academy created conflicts that spread him too thin.
"The decision was a tough one for me," Leyland said. "It's definitely a decision that I'm comfortable with making in terms of I know it's the right thing to do, but it still doesn't make it any easier."
Recent changes to the Thorns Academy calendar has added game and training that overlap the start of the high school soccer season, creating a situation the Leyland said made it impossible for him to do both.
"Unfortunately, La Salle was a seasonal job for me, where the Eastside and Thorns jobs are my year-round bread and butter," Leyland said. "There's just no work-around, because the Thorns Academy will be training when I would have been training the high school team, and then playing games on weekends when we may have to jump on a plane and travel to some of them.
"I've looked at it 65 different ways and it just isn't manageable. I don't want to be giving 50-percent effort to anybody. That's not how I am. I'm either all in, or I'm not doing it."
In two seasons at La Salle, Leyland compiled a 27-6-4 record and made two appearances in the 5A state championships final, which the school's first still title in girls soccer last fall when the Falcons defeated Silverton 3-2 in an overtime shootout.
La Salle graduated six seniors from its state championship team the finished with the season with a 15-1-2 record, but also has 14 varsity players who are eligible to return next season, including 5A co-Player of the Year Jackie Blakeley, and first-team, all-Northwest Oregon Conference defender Allison Warta.
"Gaff brought a lot of experience and heart to our school," La Salle athletic director Glenn Elliott said in a statement. "We appreciate what he's done for the Falcons and will build on what he's done. We wish him well."
Leyland's departure raises questions about and foreshadows the potential conflict that many of the state's elite girls' soccer players are expected to face next fall, when they also may be forced to forgo the high school soccer season in order to fulfill their commitments to their club teams.
"Yes, that's going to happen," Leyland said. "You can't play both concurrently, so there's going to be some decisions made there. … It will be interesting to see how that shakes out with various high schools."
Leyland has offered to assist Elliott in the school's search for a new head coach.
"I'm very close with principal Andy Kuffner and I can't speak highly enough of everybody there in the school," Leyland said. "I want to leave the program in as good of hands as possible."