While perhaps not a familiar name, there will be a familiar face to many on the sidelines for the Searsport District High School girls soccer team this fall as Searsport District Elementary School teacher Amber Stanhope has been tabbed the high school’s new varsity coach.

Stanhope replaces R.J. Robertson, who guided the Vikings five seasons, to a 43-31-6 record and two Class D South regional championship runner-up plaques.

The 43-year-old Stanhope — formerly Amber Howard — is a 1993 SDHS graduate and former athletic standout with the Vikings.

Stanhope played soccer, basketball and softball during her time and racked up many impressive records, some of which — including her distinction as the school’s all-time leading basketball scorer with 1,591 points — still stand today.

She also was, at one time, the school’s all-time goal scorer for soccer.

After high school, she played soccer and basketball at Colby College in Waterville and University of Maine at Farmington.

Stanhope is in her third year teaching in Regional School Unit 20 and finished her first year as a fourth-grade teacher at SDES.

She said she is “a little nervous, but mostly excited” to take her first varsity coaching post.

“I think we have a lot of talent,” the new coach said. “I’ve got a lot of work to do myself because obviously it is a step up from middle school and the approach is going to be a little more dynamic. And you need to know a lot more about the teams you’re playing and the talent that they have.”

Stanhope has coached travel basketball in Searsport in the past in addition to stints as coach of the Searsport boys basketball and girls soccer middle school teams in recent years.

And, she already is familiar with the majority of her high school players.

“What’s exciting about this is this group of girls I coached in middle school,” she said. “There are a few kids I didn’t have because at the time they were at different schools, but for the most part, I know this group of girls and we did very well together in middle school. They’re a young group [that will have four incoming freshmen and five sophomores], but they’re talented.”

Stanhope said Bucksport coach Mike Garcelon, who coached Stanhope during a previous tenure at SDHS, “is going to be a big resource for me.”

While the schedule has yet to be released for the season, the teams likely are to square of at least once — and perhaps twice — on the pitch.

“I’ve joked with him [about it],” she said. “I hear him down at the field yelling, ‘Shot!’ and that just echoes in my head because for years, when it was time for me to unload, I’d hear that and know it was my cue. Now I’m going to be coaching against him. He’s a strong coach and he certainly knows the sport. I think he’ll have some good advice … except for when we go to play them.”

Stanhope admitted it will be a transition moving from the middle school to high school coaching ranks, but she is not concerned with the scoreboard “as long as I know they’ve made huge strides and stick together.”

Stanhope recalled her middle school girls soccer team years prior losing a lopsided game to Camden-Rockport early in the regular season, only to play them late in the season and fall to the Schooners in overtime.

“To come in at the end of the season and be competitive with them right to the end of the game, to me was a huge win,” she said. “Even though we didn’t win that game.”

Stanhope, while known as a goal scorer, is more of a defensive-minded coach.

“I feel like if they can’t score on us, it doesn’t matter how many goals we score," she said. "I think the two most critical positions on the field are the sweeper spot and the goalie. I will want to concentrate on the defensive side of things and have one pivotal player in the middle that can distribute the ball to the wings.”

Stanhope, who has five children ages 14-20, resides in Searsport with her husband, Wayne.