NORTH STONINGTON — In order to maintain a successful college athletic program, teams must actively raise money and celebrate their student athletes, which is exactly what the UConn men’s soccer team did Monday during its ninth annual golf fundraiser.
“We try to raise money during the day to benefit our soccer program at the school,” head coach Ray Reid said. “We try to bring in alumni and donors to have a day of festivities. Get everybody together and have some laughs.”
Former UConn men’s basketball head coach Jim Calhoun, football coach Randy Edsall and former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride each attended the fundraiser at the Lake of Isles Golf Course.
The fundraiser enables former coaches to reconnect with their former players and colleagues while playing 18-holes of golf. Dan Scheck, former director of quality control for the UConn men’s soccer team, said he made sure to come and see his former boss and friends.
“Coach Reid has done a lot for me in the past and coming back for this event, you get to see a lot of former alumni, donors and the whole UConn family,” Scheck said. “Coming back, for me, was a real no-brainer. It was a really fun event that I enjoy coming back for.”
Scheck, now an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, said the fundraiser also allows him to interact with other coaches and learn how they handle their teams on and off the field.
Current Husky Alex Canicatti decided to volunteer at the event to make sure he could meet and network with donors and alumni.
Canicatti is also beginning his second year as a member of the team’s five-person Leadership Council. The senior said that during the offseason it is his job to make sure that his teammates are running, lifting and maintaining a positive mentality so the team can hit the ground running when the season begins in mid-August.
“Being a part of the Leadership Council is awesome,” Canicatti said. “The guys are great to work with. It’s really about making sure everyone is on the same page, focused and having a good mentality.”
UConn soccer will have a new trio of captains this upcoming season: sophomore Felix Metzler, junior Robin Lapert and redshirt senior Dayonn Harris.
“Robin is a great leader who works hard. He does everything above board and he is the quintessential role model,” Reid said. “Felix is a warrior when it comes to practice and games. He has an unbelievable winning mentality. Dayonn is maybe the most gifted guy in the program. He can change the game on a dime and I think a lot of guys look up to him because of his ability to play.
” I think they all balance each other out in what they do well as leaders.”
While the new captains in place, the team is in the midst of trying to finding a replacement for former Associate Head Coach John Deeley as well as for their stadium, which is being completely re-done.
Deeley, who coached alongside Reid for 22 years at UConn, announced on May 14 that he was leaving the program to pursue other professional opportunities.
Deeley is in ongoing discussions with Inter Miami CF, where soccer superstar David Beckham is the president, and he expects to have an agreement by the end of the week.
“UConn has always been a great gig for me,” Deeley said. “It’s a change in that I will be working with young kids and maybe less travel involved and recruiting.”
There will be a sense of familiarity for Deeley with Inter Miami CF. Paul McDonough, a former member of the UConn coaching staff, is in charge of the club’s soccer operations.
As for where the team will play its home games next season, Reid said the team is tentatively on track to play at Dillon Stadium and Rentschler Field.
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