The Calabrese era begins for men’s soccer

Jorge Corrales/Contributing Writer

 

This fall, the FIU men’s soccer team will have a new man at the helm— Scott Calabrese. Coach Calabrese took over the program early this year and will try and improve on a disappointing 6-10-1 record from 2013.

“Ultimately, we want to create a culture around the style we’re going to play,” Calabrese said. “We’ve had the Spring, which has been very good because we’ve made a lot of progress. But, this preseason will be very important to get everyone on the same page.”

Calabrese’s coaching track record speaks for itself. He played professionally as a member of the Rhode Island Stingrays before beginning his course as a head coach. Calabrese spent the early years of his coaching career as an assistant coach at perennial Division 1 powerhouses: the University of North Carolina and Clemson.

In 2008, Calabrese was brought in to start a soccer program at East Tennessee State University. Calabrese brought the program from non-existence into the national scene. Under his guidance, ETSU won two Atlantic Sun Conference Championships and competed in two NCAA Soccer Tournaments.

When asked about how it felt to leave ETSU, Calabrese got very serious.

“That was by far the most difficult professional decision of my life,” Calabrese said. “Aside from starting the program and bringing to where it was, losing those relationships with coaches and players that I built over almost seven years there was not easy.”

However, even through his years at ETSU, FIU has been on Calabrese’s radar.

“In 1996, when I was playing for Rhode Island, we took a trip to Richmond, VIrginia to watch the [soccer] Final Four,” Calabrese said.  “I was at the FIU game and since then I saw incredible potential in the program. When the opportunity to take the [head coaching] position presented itself, I saw that this could be something really special.

Coach Calabrese hopes to tap into the soccer potential of Miami and turn it into success for FIU.

“The draw of Miami and FIU for potential recruits is massive. The local talent is some of the best in the country. It all starts with being able to recruit and retain the best talent from South Florida.”

FIU soccer kicks off  their season against Michigan in Ann Arbor on August 29. The Panthers will host Stetson on September 5 in their home opener.

-sports@fiusm.com

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