WEST ORANGE., NJ - “This year will mark our second season in the top level American Division of the Super Essex Conference,” said Louis Mignone, coach of the West Orange High School varsity girls’ soccer team. The girls attained this status after achieving a championship and a second-place title in the SEC’s Liberty division in previous years.
Mignone continues as coach-facilitator, designing for his team a smaller, more concentrated game to train with. This assists the girls in isolating a problem and solving it, and allows them to use these tactics instinctively in their conference matches.
Many of the players attend non-mandatory practices during the summer to play these smaller matches three times a week. Mignone makes an effort to empower the girls in order to help them work through matches intuitively with the skills they already know, in addition to letting them take risks without any fear of losing. He uses a method known as a “guided discovery” to help the girls realize their capabilities.
Last year, in their first appearance playing in the American Division, the girls challenged themselves with each and every match, using the opportunity to learn and grow as a team. This helped them acquire new goal-scoring tactics and learn to inherently make quick decisions and snap transitions to create a faster, more efficient team. Mignone taught the girls a technically sound, possession-based style of play that involves moving out of the back through the thirds of the field, which they will continue to improve on and utilize this season.
The girls’ official pre-season tryouts will take place from Aug. 19-21 from 5 to 8 p.m. and from Aug. 22-24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They will play in their first scrimmages of the pre-season the following week in Bayonne, Union City, and at Saint Dominic, before finally opening their season on Sept. 9 by hosting Passaic Valley. Their first conference match will be on Sept. 10 against Montclair Kimberly Academy.