VARSITY COACH: Dan Woog ’71
Dan Woog grew up in the soccer hotbed that was Westport in the 1960s. He was a reserve member of Staples’ 1970 state championship team. After graduating from Brown University, where he covered the Bruins’ NCAA Division I Final Four teams for the college newspaper, he returned to Westport. In 1975 he co-founded the Westport Soccer Association. He began his coaching career at age 22, forming the first WSA U-16 and U-14 teams. His U-19, U-16 and U-14 teams won 10 Connecticut Junior Soccer Association state championships, and reached the finals of the USYSA Region I tournament once.
Dan coached soccer for five years when Long Lots Junior High School competed interscholastically, then moved to Staples in 1983 when ninth graders entered the high school. He coached freshmen and junior varsity from 1983-94, compiling a 108-16-12 record, with three undefeated teams. In 1995 he became Jeff Lea’s varsity assistant coach.He was appointed varsity soccer coach — only the third permanent coach in Staples’ history — on February 13, 2003, and named FCIAC Coach of the Year in 2006. In 2009 he received the Sportsmen of Westport’s Coaching Award, and in 2011 was honored as the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Boys Soccer Coach of the Year. In 2019, United Soccer Coaches named him its Connecticut “Coach of Significance,” for helping develop character on and off the field.
In 1991 Dan was named National Youth Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He was also honored as State Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (2012) and Connecticut Junior Soccer Association Coach of the Year (1980). In 2000 he was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame.
A full-time freelance writer, he has written 16 books, including 5 on soccer (including his coaching career, We Kick Balls: True Stories From the Youth Soccer Wars), and 1 on the history of Staples High School. His blog is http://www.06880danwoog.com. Dan lives in Westport. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
VARSITY ASSISTANT COACH: Kurt Dasbach
Kurt’s high school team, Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Md.), was two-time state champions (1980, ’82). He was a Parade All-America selection the same year as Mark Noonan ’83. In 1983-84 Kurt played on the U.S. U-20 national team. At Columbia, where he majored in civil engineering, the Lions were NCAA finalists in 1983, and Ivy League champs in ’83, ’84 and ’85. From 1988-91 Kurt played with the Maryland Bays of the American Professional Soccer League, and won a championship in ’90. From 1993-94 he was with Club de Deportes Puerto Montt of the Chilean Second Division. He was the first American to play professionally in Chile — and the club is the southernmost pro team in the world. He spent 1994-96 with V.V. Heerjansdam of the Dutch Second Division. In 1996 Kurt joined the Columbia University staff as assistant coach, and remained there through last winter. Kurt, who holds a US Soccer “B” license, now plays with the Westport FC Over-30 state championship squad, and in ’03 received its coveted Rookie of the Year award. Kurt, his wife Lucy and 3 children live in Westport.
VARSITY ASSISTANT COACH: Tom Henske
Tom played with both the U-20 and U-18 national youth teams. He replaced Tony Meola as UVa’s starting keeper as a freshman, and led them to 3 NCAA Division I national championships. He was the hero of the 1st final, as the Cavaliers beat Santa Clara 3-1 in a penalty kick shootout following a scoreless draw. Tom ran UVa’s largest student fundraiser to that time — “Shoot Out Cancer” — for a teammate. He donated his championship ring to charity, and organized events asking students, community members and businesses to match his contribution. As a senior, Tom received Virginia’s Distinguished Student Award. He was a 4-year starter at Northport (LI) High School, where he was twice named to both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Parade All-America teams. He was Gatorade’s Circle of Champions New York State Player of the Year and Puma US Goalkeeper of the Year. In 2017 he was inducted into the Northport High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
VIDEO COACH: Eric Kotonski
A native of Poland, Eric played high school soccer. He was also a volleyball player, on a 2nd Division team. After coming to the US, Eric won the 1996 YMCA volleyball national championship. He played soccer for Olympia in Stamford. Eric helped created Norwalk’s Polska premier soccer team, and served as its assistant coach too.
RESERVE HEAD COACH: Russell Oost-Lievense ’08
After serving as Staples’ tri-captain in 2007 Russell played at Hartwick College, and majored in English and special education. He became an assistant coach at Hartwick, and also coached in the Oneonta, New York youth program. He spent several summers running a camp on Cape Cod. Russell now works as a special education teacher, and with the Beachside Soccer Club.
RESERVE ASSISTANT COACH: Reilly Lynch
Reilly began playing soccer at age 4. He was a 2-year captain of the Housatonic Valley Regional High School team, earning All-State honors as a senior. At the University of Connecticut he helped found a 2nd club team, which qualified for the regional tournament in its inaugural season. He served as JV and assistant varsity coach at Somers High in 2015, winning a class “S” state championship. He is an English teacher at Staples High School.
FRESHMAN HEAD COACH: Chris O’Dell ’95
Chris started as a junior on the 1993 state champion Staples soccer team, and co-captained the ’94 squad; he also co-captained the Wrecker baseball team. After graduating from Michigan State University in 3 years as with a construction management degree, he moved to Chicago to serve as project manager of a condominium development. He moved back to Westport, and now is a homebuilding manager. Chris joined the Staples soccer coaching staff in 2016. He’s a legendary freshman coach, and has also worked as a varsity assistant. Chris, his wife Mary and 4 children live in Fairfield.