by Ethan Lee
May 2016 (Volume 66, Issue 4)
Succeeding a legacy that has been sustained for over 50 years may be difficult job, but this season’s new varsityl soccer coach, Mr. Odierna, was able to f
ill in the footsteps of Mr. Brock, who founded the program. The Hilltopper asked Mr. Odierna about his thoughts regarding his first season in charge.
Mr. Odierna has always had a great love of teaching and coaching, and as varsity coach, he has found new means to improve Needham soccer. “It was exciting. There was a lot of anticipation for how well we would do. It was a good feeling to be a head coach.” Even with other responsibilities such as working with Student Council, the Greater Boston Project, and as a math teacher, he has never let his other jobs get in the way of his coaching. Put simply, keeping his tight schedule is “just about staying organized and making sure that I’m efficient wit
h my free time. Nights are definitely later during soccer season, but I love coaching. I love teaching so I’ve got to make some sacrifices.”
As the former freshmen soccer team coach, Mr. Odierna brought previous experience to the table as a varsity coach. Nevertheless, there were some differences. For example, with the more competitive atmosphere and stronger oppositions, he had to adjust to the varsity environment. Nevertheless, he explained that “in the end I’m still teaching student athletes how to play the game better than they were playing before. I’m trying to be a good role model and train them for the next steps in their lives.”
Although many might see Mr. Odierna’s first varsity season as a success, he himself sees some room for improvement and change. “The thing that I would do differently is to put a bigger focus on team chemistry…I would stick to my beliefs. It’s a growing process; being part of a team is a learning experience.” Furthermore, Mr. Odierna “would like to get the program more involved in some sort of philanthropy having activities or fundraisers outside of soccer. I’d like to get the program involved with some other group. Maybe make brother-sister teams….These kids would appreciate it if their friends were there.”