After falling to Monroe College of the Bronx two-nil in the final 8 of the National Championship Tournament in 2012, head coach Widmarc Dalce says he expects his team to “go all the way this season”.
The Vikings have started up and down this season with a record of 2-1-1. “We are not where we need to be yet,” Dalce told the VOICE, “this is no time to fool around and we need to improve to be the team we expect to be.”
According to Dalce, known to the team as Coach Tigana, there is no one player that stands out on this year’s team. This is a stark contrast to last year’s squad which had All-American and Region 19 Player of the Year Sascha Haecker.
Haecker, a defender, along with midfielder Kelvin Flores were named the top 2 players in the Region in 2012. Three other Viking defenders, Ben Asor, Mbeki Johnson, and goalkeeper Ruben Morales, have all moved on after earning 2nd Team All-Region Honors last season.
The Vikings and their coaching staff prefer to “keep it simple,” says coach Tigana, and that is evident from their focus in practice and games on the fundamentals of a good touch, or how to defend free kicks. The club’s 4-4-2 formation is the most common in all of soccer, and it is one of the simpler things that Coach Tigana feels will propel this team to more competitive play.
Returning midfielder/defender Nana Osei is a returning starter and captain for the 2013 campaign. “He is complete,” Coach Tigana said, leaning back in his chair, “Nana is the engine of the team.”
Osei and Dalce have been working together for 13 years now after Dalce coached the team captain in club ball throughout his adolescence. This familiarity has Tigana comfortable with Osei passing his message and system to other players on the field.
“He [Osei] knows my system”, Coach Tigana told the VOICE, “he can assist other players in learning that there is a right way to play this game at this level”.
The Vikings look to turn their coaches system into a National Championship for Mercer Men’s Soccer.