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New coach for MVHS boys' soccer
RUMFORD -- When the opportunity presented itself, Todd Papianou felt extremely confident he has the knowledge and skills necessary to make a difference as coach of the Mountain Valley boys' soccer team..
"I'm excited to step up into the varsity role," said Papianou, who was elevated from the junior varsity after the former coach stepped down last fall. "It should be a fairly seamless transition as Jared Dumas and I worked very close and shared some of the same philosophy."
Papianou envisions solid steps for the Falcons program, which includes remaining competitive in the Mountain Valley Conference. Areturn trip to the playoffs will be strived toward, however, he also has mapped out a realistic path.
"A major goal of mine is to create an environment that allows a MVHS soccer player to evolve into a college level prospect," said Papianou, who teaches physical education and coaches boys' tennis at MVHS. "Not all kids are headed there but if the level of coaching and play is high enough, a good player may become a great player."
Papianou has an extensive background in soccer, including having played three years at Curry College in Boston. He started (and lettered) as a freshman, competing against Div. III, with some Div. II teams on the schedule. He eventually transferred to Unity College in Maine to pursue his bachelors in Outdoor Recreation.
A couple of other defining moments in Papianou's development included working as a coach for John Smith, former New England Patriots' kicker during the Steve Grogan era. The John Smith #1 Soccer School is based at South Shore of Boston and included travel camps on Cape Cod. A big plus was having hosted the Boston Globe 6-on-6 tournament. Maybe highest level of play in Papianou's career was playing for the Foxborough Soccer Club in the Boston area Men's Twilight League.
"I'm dedicated to giving back to a sport that has given a lot to me,"said Papianou, who realized as a college freshman that the sport offered greater lessons. "There's a level of comprehension of the complexities of the flow and strategies of the game became an asset as I could begin to see ahead in a game several plays and instead of just reacting I started to create opportunities for myself and my teammates."
The evolutions of the game has the Mountain Valley program using a lot of new modern principles of training; gone are the days of the static stretch before practice. Ballistic calisthenics warm-ups are more the style of pregame pre-practice. Also new this year is a comprehensive skills assessment that is sponsored by the USA Soccer Team.
Several categories of skills are split into 20-second drill stations," said Papianou. "So that a player can establish bench marks for performance. In the future, we might have players track their skills on the U.S. team website and see how they measure up against other kids in the country."
JT Taylor, new JV coach, brings a firm grasp of the Rumford soccer history and his own experience when dominating the Falcons defense as sweeper in his days on the pitch.
The preseason has been very positive and the Falcons have tried to avoid the summer heat by starting double-session practices at 6-8 a.m., then a long recovery during the day and repeat from 6-8 p.m.