By: Patrick L. Smith
The Algonquin Thunder women’s soccer team announced Tuesday Jan. 29 at 11:15 a.m. that Dom Oliveri will assume the position of head coach for the upcoming season.
The decision came after weeks of deliberations and an intense interview process with four well-qualified candidates.
Although Oliveri’s enthusiasm shone through his words, he was quick to mention that he prides himself on his preparedness.
“What this college can expect from me is a total sense of professionalism,” he said. “The players will be very prepared, I’m going to be very prepared, and I’ll have the rest of my staff prepared. It’s just the way I like to coach and to do business.”
“He’s a guy that prepared himself very well for the interview,” said men’s soccer head coach Jimmy Zito, who has coached alongside Oliveri with the Fury for eight years. “He answered the questions truthfully, honestly, but he answered the questions in a way that you wanted to hear what he had to say and what his two cents was on certain issues.”
“It was excellent, actually,” he added. “He definitely was the best interview.”
Oliveri, who beat out “close to a dozen” candidates for the job, according to athletic director Ron Port, is currently the head coach for the Ottawa Fury in the United Soccer Leagues’ W-League. Since his hiring in 2011, he brought the team to an appearance in the finals and to their first ever league championship.
“He’s been quite successful there,” Zito said. “I don’t see that changing. I think he’ll certainly bring the organization a lot of attention to detail to the girls program, and definitely a winning mentality and winning attitude.”
Oliveri has already been very busy at the helm of the Thunder. In addition to already beginning his recruiting – Zito said that Oliveri has “already gotten going” on recruiting – Oliveri was committed to getting a coaching staff in place before his own hire was made official.
“I know (Port) wanted to make the announcement a bit quicker than it did come out,” Oliveri said, “but I thought it would be very important that we identify the whole staff when we did make the announcement.”
To address that concern, the team hired two additional coaches to work with Oliveri, choosing Ottawa Fury W-League assistant captain Jasmine Phillips as assistant coach for Algonquin, and Thunder men’s soccer assistant coach Les Escobar to take on the responsibilities of goalkeeper coach.
Phillips has plenty of experience with the sport, having played with the University of Maine in the NCAA on scholarship. Following, she with an assistant coach for Maine in 2009 and was involved with the U-20 program for Canada.
“Jasmine Phillips is someone I know really well,” Oliveri said. “She’s come through the Fury youth program. I’ve known her since she was 14, 15 years old. She just brings a wealth of experience.”
Escobar, meanwhile, will take on a bigger role with the women’s team. He has been involved with the team over the past two years, getting a firsthand look at the competition in the OCAA, but he looks to become a more pivotal part of the coaching staff.
“He brings a little bit of knowledge of the players and what they’ve gone through,” Oliveri said. “He brings some background on the opposition that Jasmine and I don’t have. I think he’ll be a really key member of the staff.”