Caught up with Paul Wright, OPRF's new boys' varsity soccer coach recently, who shared his enthusiasm for the position and his expectations for the high school's soccer program.
"My main goal," Wright explained, "is to make the boys feel like they're a priority. I want soccer to be part of their high school life, and also help them attain their college goals. Supporting the Rapids and Strikers is equally important, because a good feeder program is the foundation of any strong high school soccer program."
Coach Wright brings a solid soccer background to the pitch, having played varsity soccer at Maine South High School and club soccer with Schwaben FC. He graduated from DePaul University where he played a bit of soccer and then traveled to Europe for additional training. Before joining OPRF's faculty as a math teacher, he coached varsity boys' soccer at Taft High School where in one year he took a losing program at the bottom of the Chicago Public League and moved it up to a higher division. He holds a youth coaching license and is scheduled to complete his USSF National "D" coaching license this summer.
"I'm anxious to get started" Wright went on, "as we have a core of excellent soccer players in all four grades." After seeing four boys' varsity soccer coaches come and go in the last four years, a little stability in the program would be a good thing, too! Tournament News: Congratulations to the OPRF Strikers U14 Girls Orange team on finishing in first in their bracket at the Rockford Spring Fling Invitational Tournament! After ending the qualifying round level tied on wins and points with two other teams, the girls had to sweat out a triple tie-breaker, goal-differential ruling to advance to the championship game where they defeated Brookfield (Wis.) 1-0 on a goal by Tasia Race. Team members included: Stephanie Arneson, Olivia Bird, Casey Blaha, Grace Brofman, Janel Brown, Madeline Heaphy, Lindsey Hoover, Rachel Huck, Melissa Manus, DeDe Minter, Lexy Pyles, Annie Quinn, Molly Sutton, Taylor Tencate, Layla Vallone, and coach David Parker.Striker Tryouts: Last call for children ages 8-19 interested in playing traveling soccer next season with the Strikers. Tryouts will be held this Saturday for ages Under 9 through Under 14 at OPRF High School's Lake Street field. Girls in, or entering high school (Under 15 through Under 19) who want to play Striker soccer in the fall must try out on Sunday, May 22, 4:45-7:30. Go to www.oprfstrikers.com for a form and all the details.State Cup update: The Rapids U12 Girls team coached by 'Cat' Chicos won its first-round game 4-0 on May 7th over Homewood-Flossmoor, on goals by Kate Dunaway (3), Kelly Price, and Zoe Swift. The Rapids then bowed out on May 14th, losing to Sporting FC 2-1. The Strikers U14 Orange girls came up short in their bid against a strong Cary Defenders side 5-1. How Do I 'Bend It Like Beckham'?: Thanks to the efforts of David Parker, 80 lucky Striker players will get the opportunity to watch the English National Men's team train at Soldier Field on May 27th as they prepare to play a 'friendly' against the U.S. men's squad the following day. According to Parker (Director of Coaching for OPRF Strikers and Marketing Director for Britannia Soccer USA), "This was a great opportunity to use our international contacts with the English FA in order to create a very unique experience for the young soccer players of Oak Park/River Forest."