WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Our first Weekend Sports Spotlight has us sit down with first year head coach of Ashley soccer Greg Marinich. Marinich, a 28 year military veteran, guided the Screaming Eagles to an 18-0 start and one of the best seasons in program history.
AJ Ricketts: "When you took this job earlier this year, you inherited a team coming off a 10-9 season, a group searching for an identity. What were your first thoughts, your impressions when you accepted this position?"
Greg Marinich: "Well I knew without a doubt that I had inherited a very, very good program from Coach Giles Roberts. He put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this. And I knew there was a great deal of talent that I was also going to inherit. But I knew that I wanted to put my own stamp on it. And I think we did that this year. And I'm very happy with the result."
Ricketts: "Your team rolls through the regular season. Last undefeated team in the area, some close games, a lot of blowouts – what was that period like as a coach? Win after win, and that momentum building up?"
Marinich: "Yea well I'll tell ya, I've never been there as a coach and I don't know that many of my players had. Eighteen and oh, that's a pretty tough thing to deal with. I don't think I want to do that again, but I'll tell ya, it was indicative of the young men on the team and what they wanted to do this year. We had a long, long streak, and it was a great ride."
Ricketts: "You spent 28 years in the service. A career like that, you accumulate a limitless amount of life lessons, and principles. What do you try to carry over as a coach what you learned from that meaningful period of your life?"
Marinich: "Yes sir, well first and foremost, just like the soldiers I led, it's all about grooming these young men to be better citizens, to be the best that they can be, and soccer is just a, just a vehicle we use to do that."
Ricketts: Duenis and Wally Avila. Two brothers that had such an impact for your team this year. They came to the States from Honduras just a couple years ago. What was it like to coach those guys and how much of an impact did they make?
Marinich: "Well you know I had a great team, and these two individuals are great young men. And I give them great credit. You know, three years ago, coming to the United States, didn't speak English at all, and they're living the American dream right now, it's a wonderful thing. Duenis wants to be a pilot in the air force, and Wally wants to go to college and play ball, and so we're going to try to make those dreams come true.