Busy bee Vignocchi leads Spartans onto the pitch
Paul Vignocchi barely has time to catch his breath these days.
Glenbrook North’s new assistant athletic director also is in his eighth season as the boys soccer coach. The double duty has him spinning around the school like a carousel.
“It’s busy,” said the Glenbrook North graduate, who learned of his new job in the spring and then gave up coaching the girls soccer team. “It’s all about prioritizing and time management. That’s the biggest thing, but I like to do this stuff. Once the season is over, hopefully not for a long time, things will open up more for me.”
The Spartans, who finished 14-5-2 a year ago, opened the 2011 season at 1-1-0. They started with a 2-0 loss to Prospect before beating Foreman 4-0.
Glenbrook North returned several players from last season’s club, including three-year veterans Michael Simon, Marco Luke, Brian O’Keefe, Jared Weisberg and Bill Angel. Simon and O’Keefe are captains, along with senior Austin Gundry.
“Michael is very dedicated to the sport,” Vignocchi said of midfielder Simon. “He’s one of the fastest players I’ve ever coached and has good skill. He’s very willing to play wherever we ask him to play, but he’s a dynamic outside midfielder for us.”
Simon and newcomer Allen Napadov should be two of the team’s primary goal scorers, after the graduation of Nick Olsen.
“Other than those two, we’re expecting our scoring to be pretty balanced,” the coach said. “We won’t have someone who will score 20-plus goals, but we do have players who can score within the system.”
Luke will lead the defense, and is joined in the back row by juniors Ryan Bunney and Jakub Barabas, and O’Keefe. All four started last year after Barabas was called up late in the season. Junior goalkeeper Jack Pucin will get the chance to protect the nets.
“Marco is a tough defender, and he also has the ability to attack out of the back,” Vignocchi said. “He provides us with steady play game in and game out. Our strength is our defense. We have good size and good athletic ability.”
One new player people will recognize is Trey Olsen, younger brother of Nick. The sophomore will play in the midfield with Simon.
“He’s very skillful and crafty there,” Vignocchi said. “He’s going to be a good one.”
Vignocchi also anticipates freshman Zayne Willis earning his way into the starting lineup soon. The defender came off the bench in the team’s first two games.
Glenbrook North takes on New Trier in a CSL crossover on Sept. 6.