Coach Return ‘Sparks’ Soccer Team

Former assistant coach returns to Langara as head coach of women's soccer team

Midfielder/forward Megan Estrada practising alongside Donn Sparks at the Minoru Park in Richmond, B.C. on Oct. 15 2019. MAXIM FOSSEY PHOTO
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Reported by Henri Ngimbis

With the return of coach Donn Sparks and his training methods, Langara women’s soccer team is feeling more confident in the PACWEST league — even with the loss of several players to university transfers. 

Sparks, who has been involved with soccer in Vancouver since 1992, is returning as head coach. He was previously the Falcons’ women’s assistant coach in 2005 and then the full 2006-07 season.

New coach, new tactics

Carly Dhanda, captain of the team, said she and her teammates have been playing together for at least one year, but the team regularly loses players who transfer to a university.

“Our trainer is aware of that problem. His training methods, based on tactic and motivation, considerably increase our confidence and fighting spirit,” Dhanda said. 

Addressing a new scene and adjusting team chemistry can always be tough factors for a new head coach once settled in, but Sparks said he and his players are like a family.

“Conversation and tactic are the key elements of my teaching methods,” said Sparks. “I motivate the players, by talking to them and showing them all the aspects of mistakes that they can make.”

Assistant coach Nick Riccardi said that he has definitely noticed a change in team chemistry. 

“It’s been progressive over all with the time we’ve had.”

Down, but not out

With only two games remaining, Oct. 19 and 20, the Falcons sit at the bottom of the PACWEST rankings, with a 1-9 record. Still, Sparks is optimistic about improvements within his squad.

“My players have a very good tactic and an excellent passing pace,” he said. “Unfortunately, in modern soccer, a tiny detail can cost you points.”

Riccardi is confident and said that he expects the team to make the playoffs next season. 

“I want to see these girls going again, because I do not think they lived to their potential this year and I want to see them do that next year.”

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