The Poland boys soccer team posted a 3-8-3 record so far this year. While it's not a stellar record, the varsity team's new head coach is pleased with his team's performance.
"Our record is not really telling the story of our talented players," said new head coach Brian Garcar. "We are improving with every game."
Garcar is not new to the Bulldog soccer field. He played for the Poland team all four years of high school, graduating in 2008. After graduation, Garcar went on to attend Youngstown State University and served as a JV/varsity assistant coach that year. From 2009-2011 he moved up to JV head coach and varsity assistant, before this year moving into the position of head varsity coach.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Poland’s new varsity head coach Brian Garcar stands with his three senior team members Adrian Vitus, Troy Bole, and Michael Kinkela. Although the varisty record so far is at 3-8-3, Garcar said it isn’t a true indicator of the hard work his team has put in this season.
He said the biggest challenge has been to work with a young varsity team. He only has three senior starters this year in team captains Michael Kinkela and Troy Bole, and first-year senior Adrian Vitus.
"We have a lot of juniors this year," Garcar said. "We have to rely more on underclassmen to help with leadership along with our three seniors."
Kinkela, is a 12-year career soccer player and according to Garcar, "is about the most dedicated and hardworking player you can imagine, he has been playing with me since his freshman year."
Kinkela said, "Coach Garcar is a very nice and thoughtful gentleman, he always has a smile on his face and is in a great mood, no matter what is going on. Coach has been a figure to look up to the past four years and I have really enjoyed having him as my head coach for my senior year."
Bole is the varsity goalie. He came into the program last year and has excelled beyond what Garcar expected. Like Kinkela, Bole also has previous experience with Garcar.
"Coach Garcar is a really great guy," Bole said. "He coached me in basketball for two years and I am excited to be playing for him again in soccer. I've always had a lot of respect for him."
Poland's newbie senior, Adrian "AJ" Vitus decided to come onto the soccer field for his senior year. Garcar said he has been a great addition to the team showing determination and skill.
"From the first day of practice, coach Garcar has emphasized an expectation for us to be a dominant team in our area," Vitus said. "Coach carries a confidence that has spread throughout the team. The sight of his smirk alone is enough to tell that success is sure to come."
Garcar said the biggest challenge was to get 11 guys functioning as one unit. So far the team has shown constant improvement and the juniors on the team are gaining experience.
"We take it one game at a time, Garcar said. "At this level, the guys have the technical skills. The strategy is in moving kids around to what works best. We'll keep trying to improve, but next year looks great."
Also in a new position for the JV team is head coach Bill Storkel
"I coached indoor club soccer and Garcar was one of my players," Storkel said.
He said he heard of the opportunity for the JV head coach position and applied. He doesn't regret that opportunity and has been working well with his former student. The JV team, also in a growing year, is presently at 3-6-1.
The varsity team heads into the playoffs this week, taking on Salem. If they beat Salem, they will advance to round two and face the winner of the Southeast-Hubbard game. Whatever the outcome, Garcar said he is proud of his team and the improvement the players have made this season. He is also living a dream that came faster than he thought it would.
"I've loved this game a long time," he said. "I had thought about becoming a head coach, but never thought it would come this early."