For a moment, all is quiet at the Sprague field. A cool-mid September breeze blows through the air, rustling the few leaves that have fallen from the trees. This tranquility is broken by the sudden sound of a thud. Then another. And another. A volley of soccer balls launch through the air, some balls gliding into the net and some clanging the metal post.
In the midst of this chaos, Chris Dicecca, the new head coach for the boys’ varsity soccer team, stands in the corner of the field checking in on individual players with Adam Colella, the team’s new assistant coach.
Before becoming head coach, Dicecca coached in the high school’s soccer program for two years as both an assistant coach and the boys’ junior varsity soccer coach.
Dicecca played soccer for Colby-Sawyer College, where he served as team captain his senior season. Immediately prior to the high school he also was an assistant coach for boys’ soccer at Needham High School.
As the new head coach, Dicecca looks forward to the challenge this season presents.
“Each practice and each game is always a new different experiment and a new challenge — hopefully with a positive outcome. With this group, I see each one to be a fun and entertaining experience,” said Dicecca.
In addition to Dicecca, the boys’ varsity soccer team has added Adam Colella, Dicecca’s childhood friend, as an assistant coach. Chris Howard serves as another assistant coach.
A former goalkeeper for Stonehill College, Colella works primarily with the goalkeepers on the team: Ryan Silverstein ’20 and Tristan Woods ’21.
“Coach Colella has assisted me in becoming a leader and helped me hone my goalkeeping abilities through the various drills we do at the beginning of practice. He has helped Ryan [Silverstein] and [me] improve certain attributes that distinguish good goalies from bad goalies,” said Tristan Woods ’21. “He is more than a coach, he is someone you can approach, express yourself, and your feelings to.”
Dicecca and Colella say that coaching together has been something they have always dreamt about. Colella believes that he and Dicecca see the game similarly but their differences allow them to give each other distinct outlooks on coaching the team.
“I was a field player, but [Colella] sees the game very dynamically and tactically, especially coming out of the back,” said Dicecca. “It’s all a transitional game, and he just provides a different perspective that I don’t always see.”
Since coaching other levels Dicecca’s coaching style has not changed much, even though the speed of play has. More importantly, Dicecca feels that the biggest challenge of coaching the varsity team is not being able to play every player in each game.
“The opportunity isn’t always there for every player every game. We have a 23-man roster, but not all 23 will play every single game. [The players] have to understand that sacrifice just comes with being in a strong program,” said Dicecca.
Captain Will Manning ’20 understands Dicecca’s challenge, but he says that Dicecca has handled the issue of playing time very well.
“[Dicecca] realizes that people understand that regardless if they are on or off the field everyone is trying to help the team win,” said Manning. “I believe that he plays people as he sees fit, which is all you can ask for from your coach.”
After reaching the state finals last year, where the team eventually lost 1-0 to Ludlow High School, Dicecca and Colella both agree that winning the state championship season is the ultimate goal.
“We’re going to focus on each game as a new task, a new challenge, and hopefully take care of business that needs to be taken care of. Come the end of November, we’ll have one more ‘W’ in that win column,” said Dicecca.
Colella and Manning say they both agree with Dicecca’s approach to focus on one aspect of the season at a time.
“I think it just amplifies the significance of each game. I believe that the team has bought into that way of thinking, and I feel that it will help us build up to creating a run similar to the one we had last year,” said Manning.