New Coach Brings Change

Nick Runkel, Online Editor

Changing cleat brands, practice times and soccer balls all impact a player’s performance; but none more so than the replacing of a head coach. This spring season the varsity boys’ soccer team is realizing this.

This season is Robert Garza’s first campaign as head coach and his players have been inevitably comparing him to his predecessor.

“He’s a lot stricter, for example we don’t have a day off,” senior defenseman Evan Christian said. “With [Coach Jac Ciccala] we never had practice on Friday.”

Along with Garza the soccer team has also added an assistant coach for the first time since before Ciccala took over. Gerard Schwenk has assumed the duties of varsity assistant coach.

“Now we have two voices talking to us instead of one, it’s different, but not in a bad way,” senior forward Naveed Freshtvadi said.

There have also been changes in the style with which the team plays. The new coach has brought with him a more possession oriented style with the goal of controlling the ball and commanding the game. This is a change from the team’s longtime wing-based attack Freshtvadi said.

“The new system is helping us, we are constantly switching the point of attack, which tires the other team out and makes it easier for us to score,” senior forward Andrew Osiecki said.

Through March 18 the team has scored an average of 1.75 goals per game while being led in scoring by senior Filip Mayernick. As of press time the team has a record of 2-0-2 and all of their matches have been against out of district opponents, according to the Robinson athletics website.

While there are some differences between the new coach and the former coach the similarities on the field are also evident. Both coaches place an emphasis on quick attack once inside the attacking third.

“Tactically both [Garza and Ciccala] want you to take a lot of shots,” Freshtvadi said. “Wherever we are they want us to take a ton of shots.”

The ways the coaches’ mentally approach each game and practice is also quite similar.

“Coach Garza has a ton of confidence in us, just like Coach Ciccala did and it’s really great because it allows us to be confident in our abilities,” Freshtvadi said.

Ciccala was known as a coach who wanted to win each game and who expected his teams to preform to the best of their abilities in the pre-season, regular season and in the post-season. Garza is no different, Osiecki said.

“Coach [Garza] expects excellence, he wants us to succeed in every game,” Freshtvadi said.

The team has high expectations as they enter the regular season.

Christian said, “We expect to be district champs and regional champs this season.”