This is a big season for Valhalla, but just don’t tell coach Sandro Prosperino that. The Vikings are poised to compete in Class B after making a run to the semis last season, and when you look at the returning players that they have, you could make a case for them as the favorite. Prosperino uses a very team-oriented approach and usually doesn’t like to name names, but I was willing to after my recent visit with Valhalla.
Here’s what Prosperino has to say about the upcoming season:
What was your final record last season and where did you finish in the playoffs? Our final record was 8-8-3. We earned the nine-seed in sectionals. We won two games in sectional play before losing 2-1 to a talented and well-coached North Salem team in the semis.
Who are your key returning players? We return 11 players; seven starters.
Who are the key players that you lost to graduation? We graduated nine seniors; four of them starters. Nick Oliveira will be playing at SUNY Delhi and Dominick DiMiceli is trying out for Westchester Community College. Also moving on is our co-coach Savvas Kyriakidis, who is now heading up the Pleasantville boys soccer program, giving him the opportunity to coach his own kids. I wasn’t able to convince his wife to move to our district so we could coach his outstanding kids. Apparently, she has something against the color maroon.
Are you anticipating losing any players to the U.S. Soccer Federation season? We currently have one young man playing Academy.
What do you consider to be your team’s strengths? I’m very fortunate in that I coach my boys all year round. They’re a very dedicated and hard working group who are an absolute pleasure to be around. We played together in the Tarrytown winter league, I coached 16 of my 19 current varsity players on a spring travel team, and we had the pleasure of playing in the Lakeland summer league. Besides a familiarity with the expectations of the program, comfort with our system of play and great chemistry, we return lots of talent, and we have solid depth coming off the bench.
What are some areas of concern? Now why would I discuss this in a public forum? However for me, I’m concerned with every area and facet of the team, and it’s on me to get my boys ready for the challenges that wait for them in Section 1 soccer.
Which formation do you anticipate using? Traditionally we have played a 4-4-2, however we are experimenting with a new formation this preseason.
What is your goal for your team in 2013? Our goal is constant, which is to always commit to a great training session, and win the next game in front of us.
Who is your biggest rival(s)? We’ve had a consistent league for the most part over the years, and so we’ve developed some rivalries with Alexander Hamilton, Blind Brook and Rye Neck. We also kickoff the season with our local Mt. Pleasant Cup tournament and always enjoy our battles with Briarcliff, Pleasantville and Westlake.
Up next: Panas