Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Letter to the editor-Standing behind new coach at Grover


Grover HS team manager Jennifer Freeman wrote a letter to the Buffalo News to address concerns raised after the boy's soccer team was forced to start their season late due to a mix up over physicals...

Grover stands behind excellent soccer coach

On behalf of the athletes, administrators, faculty and staff at the International Preparatory School at Grover, School 198, we would like to clarify an article in the Sept. 29 News. This article reflected badly on our school due to an interview conducted with a former faculty member of our physical education department.

The current boys’ varsity soccer coach, Ahmed Omerhodzic, was portrayed as being incompetent. The truth is that he is an exceptional coach who was forced to start late in the season. Late teacher placements and an abnormal number of layoffs/retirements in our district this past year caused this late start. Judging from the interview in The News, it seems our former boys’ varsity soccer coach holds ill feelings about his departure from IPREP at Grover and found some consolation in airing his personal opinions. Unfortunately, he has put his own feelings above the happiness and well-being of the very students he coached.

Kevin Eberle, principal of IPREP at Grover, should be commended for his commitment to the students and staff of his school, which was portrayed in a negative way. He believes that all students— despite hardships, less-than-ideal backgrounds and setbacks—can succeed with the intervention of positive influences within the school community. We, the faculty, staff and students at IPREP at Grover, applaud Eberle’s devotion and commitment to academics, athletics and overall success for students.

Our boys’ soccer team refuses to be set back because of the slanted opinion of others. The boys are confident that their “Cinderella” story will continue, despite naysayers, under a new “architect” and the constant support of a caring school community within IPREP at Grover.

Jennifer Freeman
IPREP Faculty and Staff Boys Varsity Soccer Team

I read the article in question and I felt sorry for the new coach. The kids from Grover come from many soccer-playing nations. They play almost every day in the summer on their own at Lasalle Park. While I give last year's coach (Telly Forcucci) credit for keeping them focused and organized, I'll be on record as saying, I doubt if any of the players learned any soccer skills from him last year. I don't know him. He could be a great guy but I'm told his background is in hockey. I'd be willing to bet that every one of his starters knew more about the game than he did last year.

We'll find out soon enough. Forcucci is coaching the South Park girls soccer team this year. South Park's roster is not loaded with foreign students who already know how to play the game. This will be a more accurate test of his coaching abilities. We will be reporting on how they do against perennial powers City Honors, Hutch Tech, and Da Vinci. The team has rarely beaten these three schools in the past. I saw Hutch Tech's and Da Vinci's girls the last two summers in our South Buffalo summer leagues (their coaches signed them up as a group). A few of our travel players are also playing at those schools. I know City Honors' players mostly come from the Delaware Soccer Club.It will be interesting to see how South Park does, now that they have this world class coaching staff leading them. We'll see.


  1. Ahmed is a good guy.... and far from incompetent.

  2. I too read the article and felt sorry for the team, not the administration or coach. The sullied image of IPREP soccer program was not initiated by Mr. Forcucci but by the comments of the A.D. I gleaned nothing from the article that indicated Mr. Forcucci has ill feelings about his departure and his opinion was not SLANTED in any way. He was given the opportunity to coach the team while teaching at South Park but decided not to, end of story. Where are the ill feelings? The administrative “mix up” that occurred after his departure was not his fault. I’m sure there is a lot of “behind the scenes” finger pointing but things like that happen in a large district.
    The personal attack on Mr. Forcucci’s coaching record and knowledge of the game is unjust. The bottom line is that they made it to the “final four” but fell short. Athletes should play ON THEIR OWN at Lasalle Park, that means they’re dedicated. Successful athletes are self motivated and may need discipline and focus, which Mr. Forcucci provided and that’s all he claimed to do! That was also reflected in last year’s articles. His hockey background definitely helped him positioning and pursuit angles, just like hockey. Coaches need talent to win, and he had talent. Fortunately he was able to get the most out of the kids, great job! You don’t have to play the sport to be a good coach. For example, Kansas City Chief’s head coach, Todd Haley NEVER played football, he’s doing well. If your logic holds true, then anyone who played the sport they coach should be as successful as Mr. Forcucci, report their records as well! How do we evaluate a HS team manager’s success, report how many balls she puts away?
    Kevin Neeson

  3. "His hockey background definitely helped him positioning and pursuit angles, just like hockey."

    -Soccer and hockey skills are completely different. He taught the kids from Africa as much about soccer as they could have taught him about hockey.

    "You don’t have to play the sport to be a good coach."

    The pros have assn't coordinators that presumably have played the sport. A good head coach might be able to delegate to his assistants. In high school sports, the coach should be teaching the players skills which they haven't learned yet.

    I don't know Forcucci. We'll see what kind of a girl's program he builds at South Park. The S. Bflo Soccer Club has it's kids playing year round (indoors and outdoors). Many of our players are now dominating at Mt Mercy as Freshmen. We expect Forcuuci to get the South Park players playing year round, too (this will show whether he's serious about building a program or not).

  4. you guys are so passionate about youth soccer. It's kind of scary.