March 23, 2005: Headlines: COS - Venezuela: Sports: Soccer: Baltimore Sun: Venezuela RPCV David Nesbitt to be head coach for Soccer Association of Columbia-Howard County

Peace Corps Online: State: Maryland : The Peace Corps and Maryland: March 23, 2005: Headlines: COS - Venezuela: Sports: Soccer: Baltimore Sun: Venezuela RPCV David Nesbitt to be head coach for Soccer Association of Columbia-Howard County

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Venezuela RPCV David Nesbitt to be head coach for Soccer Association of Columbia-Howard County

Venezuela RPCV David Nesbitt to be head coach for Soccer Association of Columbia-Howard County

Venezuela RPCV David Nesbitt to be head coach for Soccer Association of Columbia-Howard County

SAC-HC hires new head of coaching
Howard at Play -- Recreation and local sports in Howard County

By Lowell E. Sunderland
Sun Staff

Originally published March 23, 2005

THE SOCCER Association of Columbia-Howard County has dipped again into a homegrown staff for new coaching leadership with the hiring of David Nesbitt as its new technical director, or head of coaching.

Nesbitt, 63, has been affiliated with the club - and also coached outside of it - for more than two decades. The Columbia resident has been most visible to the general sports public as boys soccer coach at Wilde Lake High School for 17 years, winning five state titles and being runner-up three times.

But his commitment to the youth game is broader and has long been year-round.

Nesbitt won a national youth championship as coach of an under-19 boys team playing as the Baltimore Spirit in 1994. And he was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Coach of the Year in 1997 for his work with the Columbia Phoenix, a non-SAC-HC girls team that went to regional finals twice and saw 17 of 18 players receive at least partial scholarships to play in college.

Nesbitt also headed the Maryland Olympic Development Program, a U.S. Soccer Federation project intended to develop elite players, for six years.

His involvement with SAC-HC began when his two sons, Mark and Matt, began playing clinic-level soccer at age 5. Both became high school standouts in the county and played Division I college soccer, Mark at Wisconsin and Matt at George Washington. Nesbitt's introduction to the game traces to the mid-1960s, when, as a member of the Peace Corps, he helped build a YMCA in Venezuela that included a soccer program.

Nesbitt, for the past decade part of a development company that puts up housing for seniors on the Eastern Shore, succeeds Bill Stara at SAC-HC. The River Hill High boys coach resigned his SAC-HC coaching directorship this year, after he and the club could not agree on a more extensive contract. Nesbitt's renamed job of technical director remains a paid, part-time position.

SAC-HC also has hired John Dingle, former part-time boys coaching director, to a new, full-time job overseeing coaching in all recreation-level programs - the most sizable portion of the club's 6,000-player enrollment. Dingle will continue coaching Seton Keough High School's girls varsity team, as well.

And Katherine Vettori, who as SAC-HC's girls coaching director since 2001 has re-energized that program, will continue her involvement with girls teams and take on added duties with several tournaments and other club events throughout the year, although not the huge Columbia Invitational over Memorial Day weekend.

Club President David Procida said the hiring of Nesbitt and realignment of duties of the other top two coaching directors are intended to better coordinate the flow of instruction and development of players from the rec levels through the more competitive travel levels.

"One of our objectives with Dave is to improve our travel play," Procida said. The club, for some years a dominant youth organization in Maryland, has seen its competitive fortunes wane in the past few years, with some better high-school age players being wooed away by other clubs formed primarily to compete for state, regional and national honors.

SAC-HC is a club - the second largest in Maryland - that has its roots, as well as substantial financial commitment, in teaching the game to young players and providing teams and leagues to allow them to compete at various skill levels. Trying to balance the demands of both teaching through neighborhood-level leagues and fielding highly competitive travel teams is a source of friction at times within the club's mostly volunteer coaching staff.

Procida and Nesbitt, though, see the club's new Northrop Fields at Covenant Park complex, with three full-size synthetic surface fields, as a huge asset to retaining and building players. Covenant Park, on Centennial Lane roughly opposite the entrance to Centennial Park, is the second-largest soccer facility in Maryland after Montgomery County's Soccerplex in Germantown.

"It's a commitment that says to the public and the soccer community that the club is both serious and providing the backdrop necessary for the development of players," said Nesbitt.

Procida said the club also will experiment this summer with a new Super Y team, a relatively new level of play for elite, pre-college players that involves teams around the country.

Jim Carlan, SAC-HC's operations director, said the Super Y team - for under-14 boys - will play about eight games this summer under the flag of the Northern Virginia Majestic, which is in the league but lacked players in that age group.

"We will provide the coach and the core of the players," Carlan said. "It's a good opportunity for us to learn how this operates, and they needed a team."

The club also is talking about fielding a new team next year in the Premier Development League, an amateur league for college-age players during the summer. Procida said SAC-HC is interested because it has no offerings for players after they leave high school. But many colleges, as well as the U.S. Soccer Federation, see such a league as necessary to continue the development of players.

Have an article idea about amateur sports in Howard County? Call the writer at 410-332-6525 or send an e-mail to lowell.sunderland@balt

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Story Source: Baltimore Sun

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