Maryland vs UMBC: Two Coaches Who Live and Breathe Soccer

umbc vs maryland soccer

For anyone who has grown up in Maryland as a soccer fan, if you don’t get excited about UMBC vs Maryland then you probably need to check this out.

Two local programs rich in history.

Two long-tenured, successful head coaches who love the game and recruit top local talent.

Two coaching staffs who have worked so hard to develop a close-knit, family atmosphere over the years, helping these young men develop both on and off the field, all while assuring them that they will forever be part of a special Terp or Retriever family.

The University of Maryland Terps, currently ranked number three in the country and yet to lose a game this season, take a short bus ride to Baltimore County tonight to take on UMBC at Retriever Park at 7pm.

I could tell you about Hermann Trophy-hopeful Gordon Wild and the Terps’ talented offense, made up of guys like Eryk Williamson and Jake Rozhansky.

Or we could talk about UMBC’s 1-0 victory over Maryland in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.

But you can read about all of that stuff on each school’s website:

UMBC: Retriever Men’s Soccer Hosts Maryland in Tuesday Night Showdown

UMD: NO. 3 MARYLAND AND UMBC CLASH TUESDAY NIGHT

I want to talk about the two guys at the helm of each program…head coaches Sasho Cirovski of Maryland and Pete Caringi of UMBC, two head coaches who are extremely involved in the local soccer community who paid their dues before finding success.

Two Head Coaches who LIVE The Game

Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski and UMBC head coach Pete Caringi both started their collegiate head coaching careers in 1991, 26 years ago… meaning they’ve been coaching for a lot longer than any of their current players have been alive. Two of the best coaches in the Nation who have been coaching Division 1 soccer for a combined 52 years, but both men have been students of the beautiful game for even longer than that.

Pete Caringi, Baltimore

Coach Caringi had a successful collegiate playing career at local University of Baltimore, earning All-American accolades twice at the Division II school where he is the all-time leading scorer and, to this day, is ranked 21st all-time in Division II goals scored with 70. Coach Caringi won a Division 2 National Championship with University of Baltimore in 1975, and later went on to play for the Washington Diplomats in 1978.

Pete Caringi Washington Diplomats

The Diplomats made the playoffs that year, before getting knocked out in the first round by a Portland Timbers side which made it to the Conference Finals before losing to eventual NASL Champions the New York Cosmos, who went on to win their third of five NASL Championships despite losing Pele the season prior.

How about this for a few names, the NASL All-Star team that season included:

  • The late great Giorgio Chinaglia, as polarizing figure off of the field as he was on it. The Italian scored 193 goals in 213 Cosmos games, not a bad strike rate.
  • Rodney Marsh, one of the best NASL players of all time (Tampa Bay Rowdies) and a former Manchester City legend, making 188 appearances for the club, and 211 appearances for QPR prior to that, scoring 106 goals in 6 seasons for the London club.
  • Carlos Alberto, who captained Brazil in 1970, winning a World Cup.
  • Franz Beckenbauer, who needs no introduction….Der Kaiser won 5 Bundesliga titles, 3 European Cups (aka Champions League), 2 Ballon d’Ors, four German Player of the Year awards, a World Cup in 1974, and a Euro Title in 1972 as a player… before going on as a manager to help Germany win the 1990 World Cup, a Bundesliga title with Bayern in 1993-94, along with a European Cup in 1995-96.
  • George Best was an All-Star Honorable Mention
  • Former DC United manager and current legendary soccer commentator Ray Hudson was second-team NASL All-Star that season.
(l-r) New York Cosmos players Johan Cruyff, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer  circa 1978

(l-r) New York Cosmos players Johan Cruyff, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer circa 1978

After his season with the Diplomats, Coach Caringi laced up his boots in the Maryland Majors Soccer League, which makes you think about his son Pete III currently helping Christos become a Nationally-recognized name. He later went on to be the assistant coach of the Maryland Bays professional side, eventually taking over head coaching duties in 1990 and then taking over at UMBC in 1991 at the age of 36, still considered young for a Division 1 head coach.

Spend 10 minutes speaking to Coach Caringi and you’ll realize how passionate he is about the game, especially when it comes to soccer in Charm City. The Baltimore native is more than happy to tell you about the old days of Highlandtown and Patterson Park Soccer, and how many former USMNT players grew up in his old stomping grounds of Southeast Baltimore (from a 2011 interview):

“Every Sunday at Patterson Park,” Pete Caringi said. “It was neighborhood against neighborhood and a lot of times friend against friend.”

Caringi played for Pompei and Perrella on the Baltimore Kickers. The Mangione brothers, Nick and Dino, played for La Dolce Vita and Ernie Cox for Casa Bianco. There were Dnipro and Tom’s Produce, Tommy’s Lounge and Post 38, the Baltimore Bays and Baltimore Comets.

There was passion and pride, talent and tradition.

“You come in here and see the love everyone has for Pep,” Caringi said, “and it takes you back to those days. And it’s not just a Curley thing or a Calvert Hall thing. They’re from everywhere — Patterson, Mount St. Joe, Dundalk — all the club players from years ago. It just says a lot about the soccer community in general.”

A quick personal story…I grew up in PG County, played in the DC-area WISL adult amateur league for a few seasons before moving to Baltimore. I ended up playing a few seasons in the Maryland Majors league for a Baltimore Colts team which competed for the US Open Cup, a few years before Christos was making all of the headlines, and here’s what I’ll tell you about Baltimore amateur soccer (compared to DC)…tackles are coming in, and you’re going to be sore on Monday mornings at work.

Guys take pride in the soccer-rich heritage here in the Baltimore area, from the Baltimore Kickers clubhouse that could always be seen on Broadway Street in the heart of Fells Point, to the Italy World Cup posters hanging on the walls at the local favorite deli here in Highlandtown, Di Pasquale’s. There’s the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame in nearby DuBurns Arena, which includes a number of old Baltimore names, along with a game ball from Christos’ US Open Cup run last season.

A few random old school Baltimore soccer pics

htown

 

 

 

 

1930's Police Athletic League Soccer at Patterson Park

1930’s Police Athletic League Soccer at Patterson Park

 

 

bmore soccerCoach Caringi has a .610 win percentage over a 26-year career.  His 276 wins makes him the 26th-winningest active coach in the country, turning the small Baltimore-area school with only 13,640 students (compared to Maryland with 38,140) and somewhat meager resources (when compared to coaches of other National powerhouse programs on that list) into a Nationally-recognized program which has made 5 NCAA Tournament appearances, including the recent Cinderella Final Four run in 2014.

A local coach who came up living, breathing, and eating Baltimore soccer, who still pays respect to the greats before him and has managed to build a program by recruiting local players who will take as much pride as he does in seeing Baltimore soccer continue to flourish.

Sasho Cirovski, College Park

Sasho Cirovski

University of Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski is the fifth-winningest active head coach in NCAA Division 1 soccer, with a 390-144 record leading up to this season. His .710 win percentage over 26 seasons is ahead of programs who seem to be nationally-ranked every season, such as UVA, Notre Dame, UCLA, and other powerhouse programs. But if you think that Coach Cirovski started his winning ways as soon as he arrived in College Park back in 1993, you’re sorely mistaken.

Sasho Cirovski Youth

A young Sasho Cirovski (right foreground) in his native Macedonia in about 1969 with brother Vancho, mother, Ljubica, and sister Diana. (Handout photo, from same Sun article)

Before the Macedonian-Canadian soccer coach took the reigns for the Terps, the University of Maryland’s men’s soccer program only made ONE NCAA Tournament appearance since 1976. ONE NCAA Tournament appearance (in 1986) in 17 seasons, so it would be hard to say that he inherited a competitive program.

Coach Cirovski didn’t grow up in the DMV. He grew up on the borderline of poverty, living in a small Balctic town called Vratnica in Macedonia, where he used the beautiful game to escape some of the harsh reality surrounding him.

From a 2009 Baltimore Sun article:

Cirovski’s ambition was forged early, those who know him say, during his hardscrabble youth in the sleepy Balkan town of Vratnica.

There, Cirovski and his family lived in several rooms atop a barn filled with livestock: chickens, pigs, cows and horses.

“We had no bathrooms, hot water or refrigerator,” he said. “We took baths in a small tub in the kitchen, by the wood stove. But we probably grew up healthy. There was no candy in our lives.”

His parents were factory workers, poorly-educated but proud of what little they could give their three children.

Cirovski’s father, Trpemir – friends called him “Terp” – slogged around Europe in search of work. In better times, he would scrape to buy a soccer ball and send it home to his sons, Sasho and Vancho. “The whole village would play with that ball for a month, until it wore out,” Cirovski said. After that, they made do with substitutes. “Whenever a pig was slaughtered, we’d save the bladder, blow it up like a balloon and kick it around,” recalled Vancho Cirovski, 49.

We’d play soccer wherever we were – on a hill, in the forest or on a riverbank,” the Maryland coach said. “We never saw games on TV because there were no TVs, but we heard older people talk about the great players. You developed an embedded love for the game. It became part of my DNA.”
Cirovski was 8 when his family emigrated to Windsor, Ontario. There, his father toiled long hours in a factory making car bumpers until being laid off for 22 months during the recession of the mid-1970s.”We were poorer than dirt and always in debt,” said Cirovski, by then a fast-rising player. “But if I needed to make a soccer trip, he would find a way to borrow $20.People trusted him to pay it back.”

For two summers, Cirovski labored beside his dad in the factory.”You came home from work with junk up your nose and dust all over your body, like in a coal mine,” he said. And he thought: The clock is ticking.

His father’s death at 52 upped the ante. “Life is the race for happiness,” Cirovski said, “I knew then that all I wanted to do was to live, eat and breathe soccer.” He has gone full tilt ever since.

“Sash works extra hard because he’s afraid of going backward,” said Vancho Cirovski, a self-employed entrepreneur in Windsor. “He remembers not having things. It’s always ‘go forward’ with him.”

Coach Cirovski’s desire to succeed can obviously be traced back to his days as a boy, where he had to endure hardships that would later in life make him the father of a Terps’ soccer family that has produced a countless number of professional soccer players.

Always remembering these experiences allowed him to continue to power through early struggles in his first few seasons in College Park… the feeling when you’re in a tough spot, but you know you’ve been through a HECK of a lot worse. He has since been able to successfully build the University of Maryland men’s soccer program into a National Powerhouse, despite going 3-14-1 in his first season, followed by four consecutive NCAA Tournament second round eliminations: University of Virginia in 1994, James Madison in 1995 via penalty kick shootout (a game my father drove me all the way to Harrisonburg to watch), William and Mary in 1996, and American University in 1997.

Since then, Coach Cirovski and The Terps have:

  • Won NINE Conference Tournament Championships
  • Won Four regular season Conference Championships
  • Made EIGHTEEN NCAA Tournament Appearances, with Coach Cirovski’s first season and 2000 the only two seasons when they didn’t make it.
  • Made it to the NCAA College Cup (NCAA Tournament Semifinals/Final Four) EIGHT times
  • Made it to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals ELEVEN times
  • Finished as NCAA Tournament Runners-Up once, in 2013
  • Won a National Championship twice, in 2005 and 2008

All while producing a long list of professional players, including a number of consistent USMNT players:

Retired:

  • Taylor Twellman
  • Jason Garey
  • Abe Thompson
  • Michael Dellorusso
  • Domenic Mediate
  • Danny Califf

Still Playing:

  • Omar Gonzalez
  • Mikey Ambrose (Atlanta United FC)
  • Marc Burch (Minnesota United FC)
  • A. J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy) *
  • Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union) *
  • Tsubasa Endoh (Toronto FC)
  • Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes) *
  • Taylor Kemp (D.C. United)
  • Zac MacMath (Colorado Rapids)
  • Dan Metzger (New York Red Bulls)
  • Patrick Mullins (D.C. United)
  • Chris Odoi-Atsem (D.C. United)
  • Robbie Rogers (LA Galaxy) *
  • Chris Seitz (FC Dallas)
  • Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)
  • John Stertzer (New York City FC)
  • Rodney Wallace (New York City FC)
  • Ethan White (New York City FC)
  • London Woodberry (New England Revolution)
  • Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

While Coach Cirovski didn’t grow up in the DMV area, he has established himself as one of the most respected coaches in the country, bringing a sense of pride to Maryland soccer. He can be seen at a number of local USSDA, USYSA, and high school games, recruiting the area’s best talent. He and assistant coach Brian Roland have an incoming class next season which includes DMV locals Nick Richardson and Justin Gielen who both look to be the real deal, to add to the Terps’ long list of nationally-ranked youth prospects that they are able to lure to College Park year, after year, after year.

Love of the Game, something both coaches (and a lot of us) have in common

Coach Cirovski’s humble upbringing, work ethic, and early mindset that saw him eat, breath, and live soccer…. from his early days in a barn with roosters and no working bathroom or hot water, all the way through adulthood where he’s now the head coach of one of the Nation’s top men’s soccer programs….combined with Coach Caringi’s local upbringing and identical passion for the beautiful game, makes this matchup more than just two local programs playing under the lights tonight at Retriever Park. Both coaches bring unique life experiences to their coaching careers, both coaches run successful programs, both coaches have developed professional players.

But more importantly, both coaches STILL love the game as much as everyone that will be in the stands or watching from the live feed tonight, which is to be commended. We’re lucky to have them here in the DMV.

 

 

 

College Soccer Preview: Week 4

NCAA DMV Soccer Schedule

There are some big games for DMV-area college programs this week, including the following:

Tuesday, September 19

GW @ #8 UNC 

Chapel Hill, 7pm

Watch live via stream

GW (2-3-1) Head Coach Craig Jones and team head to Chapel Hill to take on nationally-ranked UNC on Tuesday night. The Tarheels are 6-1 this season, coming off of wins this week against William and Mary (3-2) and Duke (2-1), and are currently second in the Coastal Division of the ACC.

GW comes into the match riding a streak of results as well, defeating Navy on Wednesday night 3-1 in Annapolis, followed by a double-overtime draw with UMBC on Saturday 1-1. Coach Jones seems to have found a bonafide starting forward in freshman Oscar Haynes-Brown, who scored in both matches and has scored 3 goals in his last 3 matches. Fellow freshman Brady O’Connor has started every GW match this season, scoring the game-winning penalty against Navy. This will be GW’s third match in 6 days, a difficult stretch for the Colonials who are 2-3-1 on the season.

ODU vs VCU

ODU, 7pm

ODU (3-1-2) Head Coach Alan Dawson and the Monarchs host VCU on Tuesday in a Virginia derby matchup. ODU is currently fourth in Conference USA standings, coming off of a 3-0 victory to open conference play against Florida Atlantic this past weekend. Freshman midfielder Brandon Perdue, who played for Richmond United USSDA, leads the team in scoring with four goals and an assist on the season, followed by Junior Max Wilschrey with 3 goals and an assist. Tuesday’s match will be the third in 7 days for ODU, defeating FAU and also earning a draw against a tough Campbell side last week, 1-1.

Virginia Tech vs Davidson

VT, 7pm

Watch live via stream

Virginia Tech (2-4) is coming off of two straight losses to ACC opponents: a 3-1 loss to Duke last weekend, followed by a 2-1 loss this past weekend to 12th-ranked Virginia. Head coach Mike Brizendine is hoping to get closer to a winning record after Tuesday’s match vs Davidson, who are 5-0-1 on the season and currently on top of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

American vs WVU

American, 3pm

American host a WVU side who is completing their third of three matches in the DMV area, coming off of a 3-1 victory over George Mason this past weekend, losing their first DMV match 3-1 vs UMBC this past week, American is 1-5-1 on the season, looking to turn things around against nationally-ranked WVU at home.

Wednesday September 20

 

UMBC vs Navy

UMBC, 7pm

Watch live via stream

A big DMV derby match on Wednesday night as UMBC hosts Navy at Retriever Park. UMBC (4-1-1) head coach Pete Caringi won his 450th collegiate game last Wednesday night, in a 3-1 victory against Nationally-ranked WVU, behind two goals from junior center back Kyle Saunderson and two assists from freshman Matt Bailey. This past weekend, the Retrievers came back from a 1-0 deficit at halftime to earn a 1-1 draw away against GW.

For Navy (1-5-1), head coach Tim O’Donohue continues to work with a younger squad, starting four freshmen and bringing a fifth off of the bench. The Midshipmen have lost their past 2 matches, a 3-1 home defeat to GW last week followed by a 2-1 loss at Duquesne on Saturday. Things don’t get any easier for Coach O’Donohue and company, with the UMBC match being the first of three games in a week for the Midshipmen.

JMU vs Radford

Radford, 7pm

Watch live via stream

JMU (3-2-1) head coach Tom Foley takes his Dukes’ side to Radford on Wednesday in another local DMV derby matchup. JMU defeated Niagra this past weekend 3-0 at home, Ben Dao scoring the first and leading the team in scoring with 3 goals.

Radford (coached by Bryheem Hancock) is also 3-2-1 on the season, coming off of a 2-0 victory against Howard this past weekend.

Georgetown vs Stony Brook

Georgetown, 4pm

Watch live via steam

Ninth-ranked Georgetown lost their first match of the season this past weekend, a 1-0 away loss to Xavier. Hoyas head coach Brian Wiese will look to get his side back to winning ways on Wednesday as they host Stony Brook who is 5-1-1 on the season and currently second in America East Conference standings.

For Georgetown, despite being 4-1-1 on the season and ranked ninth in the country, they are currently in seventh place in Big East standings, following their first conference loss this past weekend. Sophomore striker Achara leads the Hoyas in goals with five on the season, he also leads the team in shots with 12.

William and Mary vs Longwood

William and Mary, 6pm

Watch live via stream

William and Mary (3-2-2) is coming off of a 2-0 home victory against Campbell this past weekend, after dropping a close 3-2 away match against UNC last week. Head Coach Chris Norris’ Tribe team is currently fourth in CAA Conference standings, taking on a Longwood side which is 0-4-1 on the season. Antonio Bustamante, Ryder Bell, and William Eskay are all tied for leading goal scorers for William and Mary, with two goals a piece.

George Mason vs East Tennessee State

George Mason, 7pm

Watch live via stream

Mason head coach Greg Andrulis and company are currently in fourth place in Atlantic 10 Conference standings, with a 3-2-1 overall record. The teams above them: UMass and Fordham, are 4-2-1, so a win on Wednesday night at home could see the Patriots climb the conference standings as they host East Tennessee State.

East Tennessee State is 3-1-2 on the season, defeating Virginia Tech in preseason and also losing a closely-contested match against Nationally-ranked Kentucky 2-1.

For Mason, senior striker Henning Dirks leads the team in points with 4 goals and 5 assists, as well as in shots with 16 on the season. Sophomore Ryan Mingachos also has four goals, to go with Sophomore Tunde Akinlosotu‘s 2 goals and 2 assists on the season.