Recent Valley graduates guide Vikings
John McGuirk said he has received some odd looks in recent weeks.
He thinks the sideways glances stem from his age and position.
The 21-year-old McGuirk is head coach of the Valley boys soccer team. He will turn 22 in March.
His assistant, Tim Feroce, is 20 years old.
Both played for Valley and graduated in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
McGuirk was an all-section sweeper his senior season and still plays soccer for most of the year.
Feroce earned all-section honors as a forward in his senior campaign.
The youthful McGuirk and Feroce tend to blend in with their players during pregame warmups.
Then, they introduce themselves to the referees and opposing head coaches.
“When other coaches see me and Tim, I think they don’t take us very seriously,” McGuirk said.
McGuirk, Feroce and their Vikings are earning respect the hard way. By winning games on the field.
Valley is 2-5 in Section 2-AA and 5-6 overall.
The Vikings defeated Burrell in section play earlier this week for the first time since 1996.
Last season, the Vikings finished 1-11, 5-12-1.
McGuirk was an assistant coach the previous two years.
Feroce is in his first year as an assistant.
McGuirk is a junior at Indiana University (Pa.) and is majoring in marketing.
He said he has about an hour drive between Valley and IUP. He has not missed a game but misses about two practices per week. Feroce takes command during those practices.
“Trying to get caught up with school work, driving and coaching, it’s gets a little tiring,” McGuirk said.
However, he said he decided he couldn’t sit out this season because he had numerous returning starters and believed the team could improve.
The leading scorers are Jonathan Stuck with seven goals, and Steve Feroce, Tim’s brother, with six. Steve Feroce leads the team with seven assists.
McGuirk said the players have displayed respect for the young coaching staff despite the closeness in age.
“My first two years, I was around some of the players I played with,” McGuirk said. “These kids now came after me. They act as if I’m a normal coach, about 30 years old or so.”
Reporting top scorers
Local boys soccer coaches are asked to report their top goal scorers on Thursdays. The Valley News Dispatch will list the top scorers on Fridays.
Statistics can be reported to [email protected] or 724-224-2696.
Girls top scorers can be reported Mondays for publication Tuesdays.
VND Fab 5 rankings
1. Fox Chapel (12-0).
2. Plum (10-1).
3. Highlands (11-0).
4. Deer Lakes (9-1-2).
5. Kiski Area (7-4).
Top A-K Valley scorers
Greg Meyer, Highlands 22
David Blackwell, Riverview 15
E.J. McCormick, Fox Chapel 14
Billy Cook, Highlands 13
Brian Haschke, Deer Lakes 13
Neal Duryea, Deer Lakes 12
Justin Ayala, Plum 8
Mike Fazzini, Burrell 8
Angelo Mastrogiacomo, Plum 8
Paul Paradise, Plum 8
Jordan Gray, Springdale 7
Luke Heller, Kittanning 7
Pat McAfee, Plum 7
Jonathan Stuck, Valley 7
Steve Warden, Fox Chapel 7
Steve Feroce, Valley 6
Justin Flowers, St. Joseph 6
Mike McDade, Plum 6
Pat Schneider, Kittanning 6
Alex Tribendis, Plum 6
T.J. Trozzi, Burrell 6