Branson steps down after 17 years as Woodcreek soccer coach

He says program is in good hands with new coach Corey Clonce
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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His children are growing, playing more sports, and mom’s chauffeur service could use another driver. His team just finished a successful season and has an energetic young coach who’s ready for a program of his own.

That made the timing right for Chris Branson, Woodcreek High School’s first boys soccer coach, to announce this week he’s stepping down.

Varsity assistant Corey Clonce has been named the new head coach.

“The opportunity to get out now is good,” Branson said. “We had a great year. Next year should be equally successful, if not more.”

The Timberwolves were 9-8-5 overall, finished second in the Sierra Foothill League at 6-2-2 and advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinals, where they lost to eventual-champion Bella Vista 2-1.

Branson was an assistant to Pablo Gutierrez at Roseville for six years. Branson coached for one season at Rocklin before Woodcreek opened. He spent six seasons coaching the boys and girls teams before focusing on the boys, who he coached for 17 years.

Woodcreek won league championships in 1996 and 1999 and captured a section title in 1999.

Branson said he was “young and naïve and not married” when he was offered the boys and girls programs when Woodcreek opened.

Branson said he sees the same energy in Clonce, “who’s 20-something years younger than I am.” Clonce formerly coached at River City High School and now coaches with Placer United.

“I’m stepping out of the way and letting the momentum he brings to the program carry through,” Branson said. “I’ve left it in good hands. I care, and I want somebody on campus who’s willing to step up and put the same energy into it.”

Branson now will put his energy into his children. Daughter Claire, 13, and sons Connor, 11, and Kevin, 7, all play soccer. Claire also played volleyball at Silverado Middle School while Connor played fall ball in Roseville West Little League.

“My wife is running all over town delivering kids,” Branson said. “We had five sports teams along with the high school commitment.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.