WEST ORANGE, NJ - As West Orange High School kicks off with a new school year and the beginning of fall sports, the girls soccer team is also adjusting to a new coach and culture.
This summer, the Lady Mountaineers welcomed Sean DeVore as head coach. DeVore coached the Northern Highlands Regional High School Boys Soccer team for the past five years, where he led the team to the 2010 Bergen County title, the 2013 Group 3 State Championship and three Big North League championships.
DeVore said he is returning to West Orange because of his "close relationship to the town." He was born and raised in West Orange, went through the public schools, coached the boys soccer program for eight seasons and has taught in town for 10 years.
DeVore said that the town has always been "near to his heart."
The team said it is excited to work with DeVore. Their goal as a team is to improve their 5-11 record, qualify, and even win championships this year.
DeVore admitted that the biggest challenge thus far is changing the culture. He said, "We have a lot of great kids here who are good soccer players...they need to believe they can be great. Once they figure that out, we have a chance."
The girls also share the same views.
Senior Kristina Jaeger said she feels very confident in regard to the upcoming season. She said, "I was nervous about having a new coach my last year here, but Devore is an amazing coach and has taken away any of that worry."
The team also attested to Coach DeVore's dedication. They said they have spent all summer improving their fitness and soccer skills and are more than prepared for the upcoming season.
Senior Harper McVey said that Devore is not only “changing the style of play here at West Orange, but also changing [their] mindset.” She shared that Coach DeVore’s positive attitude proves to be an aid and encouragement to all the girls.
“I’ve had dozens of coaches but I am thrilled to have someone who cares so much about the success of our team and making us better individuals and soccer players,” said Heidi Paulson. “As usual, if the team is to achieve their goals, they will need to play to their strengths and stick with DeVore’s lead.”
DeVore said he expects major contributions from Jaegar (senior), Ryan Clark (senior), Racquel Chong (senior), Paulson (senior), Morgan Clark (freshman), and Nyah Harper (freshman).
DeVore will be assisted by assistant varsity coach Chris Maillet.
The Lady Mountaineers will kick the season off officially on Sept. 9, at Verona. The first home game is on Sept. 14, against Irvington.
Anita Calmday is a senior at West Orange High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto.net.