Even though the Dominion High boys’ soccer program is under a new varsity head coach this season, there should not be a difficult transition period for the Titans.
The team’s new coach is Alan Lear, who has been the program’s JV coach each of the past three seasons.
"Most of [the players] I’ve coached on the JV team the last three years," said Lear, who coached soccer for 16 years in Vermont before moving to the Northern Virginia area in the fall of 2004. "That has helped. We have the building blocks of being a good team. We all [players and coaches] bring a level of success to the table."
Lear said he has players from diverse cultural backgrounds who bring various styles of play to this year’s team. The Titans consist of players from Lebanon, Latin America, Iran and Africa.
"We have a lot of good individual players with skill and good ball control," said Lear, a Dominion High math teacher. "We want to play a control game because we’re small in size [physically]."
Dominion will be led this spring by team captains Tommy Kowalick, Luke Coupland and Gerard Miniaci.
Kowalick, who will see time at both goalie position and in the midfield, is a fourth year member of the varsity and in his third year as a team captain.
Coupland, a sophomore, is the team’s underclassman team captain. He will play at stopper or sweeper.
Miniaci, a senior midfielder, is the Titans’ first alternate captain.
Other key members of the lineup this season will include senior midfielder/forward Tony Hasper, senior midfielder/forward Guilherme Villar, senior midfielder Kenneth Young and senior midfielder/forward Michael Bascope.
Other 12th grade members of this year’s team are defender/sweeper Christian Nguyen, forward Rigoberto Fuentes and defender/midfielder Guillermo Pineda.
Coach Lear said it will be interesting to see which players develop into goal scorers this season.
"We’ll need to see who bubbles to the top with scoring and with assists," he said.
Lear said his team is made up of players with capable talent who can play at several positions on the field. Also, he believes the Titans should have good overall team depth.
"I think our performance is going to be consistent," said Lear. "We have a lot of players who are at the same skill and fitness levels. They can play multiple positions.
<b>DOMINION </b>finished among the middle of the pack in the Dulles District standings last year. This spring, coach Lear hopes his team will improve throughout the season and be playing at a high caliber by the postseason.
"We want to be at our best at the end of the [regular] season and at the [district] tournament," said Lear, a military personnel in the reserve component.
Lear’s coaching staff consists of Bob McKenney (varsity assistant), Nelson Flores (JV coach) and David Benson (JV assistant).
The Titans open the season this week with three games. On Tuesday, Dominion was scheduled to play a home game versus non-district opponent Manassas Park. The following day, the Titans were scheduled to play at non-district opponent C.D. Hylton of Woodbridge. And this Friday night at 7:30, Dominion will open up its district schedule with a game against Freedom High.