By: Greg Macafee
Friday, July 12, 2019 | 6:43 PM
It’s not every day you see a coach change jobs after taking his team to the brink of a state title.
But that’s the position the Deer Lakes boys soccer team was in after former coach Jordan Wiegand accepted the head coaching position at Pine-Richland this past spring.
On Thursday, the Deer Lakes School District announced it found a new head coach in Manchester, England native Daniel Yates.
Before moving to Pittsburgh, Yates coached club teams around the Manchester area and over the past five years, he has coached through UK International.
Originally a west-coast based company, UK International is an organization devoted to growing soccer through quality instruction and programming. Yates said they normally go into communities and help young players develop their soccer skills through camps and other activities.
Yates also has coached for the Pittsburgh Hotspurs soccer club the past two years, but with a lack of teams during the fall, he wanted to try his hand coaching at the high school level.
“I just want to coach,” Yates said. “It’s my job, it’s my life and I am very excited for this opportunity.”
He applied to a few other openings around the area, but he ultimately ended up in a position with a lot of upside.
Last season, the Lancers went 21-2-1, won their first section title in 15 years, and made their first PIAA tournament appearance. Not only did they play their way into the state tournament, but they finished just short of capturing the first state championship in school history.
On top of that, the Lancers only lost two starting seniors to graduation. One was starting goalkeeper and 2018 Valley News Dispatch boys soccer player of the year, Jesse Greyshock, and the other was defenseman Nick Caro. Having all of that talent returning was just the tip of the iceberg for Yates.
“Just seeing the results from last year and how they did, I was like, ‘wow this team seems real good,’ ” Yates said. “So, hopefully, I can add to what they did last year and then take them one step further.”
The Lancers return rising senior forward AJ Dorman, who led the team in goals last year with 19. Rising junior midfielders and All-WPIAL selections Devin Murray and Michael Sullivan also return after holding down the middle of the field as sophomores.
Sullivan was the top playmaker, scoring 12 goals and dishing out 11 assists. He also scored the game-winning goal against Shady Side Academy in the semifinals of the state tournament. Murray found the net eight times and provided an important defensive presence.
Yates met with his team Thursday and said he was able to tell them what he expects while also sharing what they should expect of him. Then, he got to work developing the plan for his first year at the helm.
“I’m putting together a curriculum so we can get in the best shape possible in order to win the section again and then the WPIAL and states,” Yates said. “I am just hoping to get to know the boys quickly and have them buy into the way I want to play the game.”
Over the next month or so Yates said his captains will run the team through drills so they are ready when training camp opens up in August.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .
Tags: Deer Lakes