Denton girls soccer coach Iseed “Sid” Khoury, whose soccer roots have been entrenched in the city and schools of Denton along with his time at North Texas, is leaving DHS to take the head coaching position at Frisco Wakeland.
Khoury was instrumental in Denton High’s soccer team and the Denton Soccer Association while also boosting UNT’s soccer program.
Khoury, who arrived in Texas in 1969, played soccer and football for UNT. He was a standout scorer for the soccer team for four seasons, and his football career was highlighted by school-record 62-yard field goal against Richmond in 1977 under head coach Hayden Fry. He currently is tied for sixth in school history with 26 career field goals. In 2001, Khoury was inducted into UNT’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
But it was his time at Denton that he will be celebrated for.
Khoury and the Lady Broncos won state titles in 2003 and 2004, played in four state title games and won 20 or more games in a season nine times.
With tears in his eyes, Khoury reflected on his favorite memories of his 17 years with the soccer program. The year was 2000 — not a championship season, but a surreal, scary moment that let him know that soccer had arrived in North Texas.
“There were a lot of great memories,” Khoury said. “My most favorite memory was when we played in 2000. We played [Wichita Falls] Rider in the regional final at Wichita Falls. There were 40 police officers and about 3,500 people. We played the No. 1 team in the state and we demolished them 4-1.
“I’m looking and I see these police officers around our players because somebody was trying to hurt them and they escort us out. They made us stand there for 45 minutes until they escorted all the people out of the stadium and wouldn’t let us out. I said then that soccer has come alive. That just doesn’t happen in soccer. That will always be the greatest moment.”
Khoury was more than complimentary of the Denton school district for its support and encouragement during his time in Denton.
“The school district is the best,” Khoury said. “Dr. [Ray] Braswell and now Dr. [Jamie] Wilson and Mr. [Dan] Ford are great sports supporters. They’ve supported us all the way and did everything they can. There’s nothing bad I can say about this. It’s been 17 gorgeous years.”
Although the Lady Broncos went 1-19 this season, Khoury has never doubted his players’ commitment to the team and their willingness to continue to work hard and improve.
“There were many times that they would come to me and say, ‘Coach, we are just around the corner,’” Khoury said. “That was great for me. It was fantastic to have the players say that, and that’s what we tried to do. Their spirit was never broken, and we bent but never broke. In practice, you would have never guessed we lost a game before.”
Khoury was quick to recite his fondest memory from this season, and it wasn’t the team’s victory, but how they handled defeat, something he always strived to do as a soccer coach.
“My greatest memory this year was in a game that we lost against Lake Dallas,” Khoury said. “We were brilliant. I thought we were absolutely fantastic. We lost the game, unfortunately, 2-1, but after the game I told them I couldn’t be more happy with them. You could play for me now and forever and lose every game, but if you play like this, I’ll never say a negative thing. You don’t ever forget that these kids take something positive out of a defeat because eventually it wears you down.”
Khoury preached positivity when building success.
“When you’re dealing with kids, it’s very important that they feel important and that they feel worthy,” Khoury said. “You have to know that things are in their hands, and if you don’t like something, do something about it. Hard work in the end pays off.”
Khoury will make the move to Wakeland, and it was a conversation with Wakeland athletic coordinator Marty Secord that allowed him to embrace the change.
“I think God’s gift to me, aside from soccer, has always been my ability to meet new people,” Khoury said. “I’ve always been good at that. I’ve always been able to embrace new and change. I got some calls from schools that I didn’t consider.”
When Khoury did consider Wakeland, he thought back to that dialogue with Secord and it invigorated his desire to make the transition. Khoury wants to get back to winning state championships, just as he was asked to do when he arrived at Denton as head coach in 1996.
“I remember feeling how I met someone I’d never met before, but I felt I’d known him for 20 years, and when this opportunity came, I thought of that moment,” Khoury said. “I checked on the school and found out that they had a really big-time soccer program and an opportunity to win state year in and year out. I didn’t want to leave here; that was the only sticking point.”
Denton High athletic coordinator Kevin Atkinson could not be reached for comment on the school’s search to replace Khoury.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.