Trinity-Pawling Soccer Coach Sal Zani

How many years have you been coaching soccer at Trinity-Pawling?

This was my second season.

This soccer season at Trinity-Pawling was rather successful compared to recent years. What were some key factors that helped that success?

A huge help to both myself and the players was the addition of Coach Templeton and Coach Welch. Not only did Coach Templeton bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the team, but he was also able to help run practices and introduce some new drills to the players and get them thinking differently. Coach Welch was able to help with the goalies and specialized in their development throughout the season. I couldn’t have done this without their help and the team’s ultimate success is due largely in part to the help I received from them during the season. I also think our pre-season training trip to Costa Rica at the beginning of the season had a lot to do with our success.

Walk me through that trip. How did it get started? What did you do each day? How long were you there and how many games did you play?

The Costa Rica trip was amazing and we were so fortunate to be able to go on a trip like that. We were able to raise close to $60,000 dollars for the trip, and Gabe Auringer’s dad also made a generous donation for the boys to be able to go without too much of a financial burden. We were there for ten days exploring some of the towns in Costa Rica, as well as some soccer stadiums. We also practiced once or twice a day and had a total of 6 games against U-20 and U-23 teams. This was a great trip because the players got to bond before arriving on campus, giving new students a chance to make early friendships. It also allowed us to play a lot of soccer before the start of the season.

How do you hope to continue to strengthen the team and what are your hopes for next year’s season?

I’m always hoping to improve. This year, we made some positive strides toward making Trinity-Pawling soccer a household name. As we go forward, I want to continue to bring in players who are soccer-first, rather than working with kids who are trying to add a sport in the fall. This year, we were also able to bring in a nucleus of guys who created a strong foundation for the team to build on. As our reputation grows, I’m hoping more people will know about Trinity-Pawling, and I can continue to recruit students who are excited to be here and want to win.

What was the highlight of the season for you?

For me, it was being able to see the kids and the team come together while dealing with adversity. We had a hot start but faced the best teams in the middle of our schedule. We were able to get through that and ended our season on a high note, which I was really proud of. We were able to build a strong foundation with fundamental skills and with the help of Coach Welch and Coach Templeton, we’ll be able to continue to bring in players that will make us better. It was a blessing to work with the team this year, and I look forward to the same next year as we work towards making the team as successful as possible.

by Kyle Miller ’18