SOCCER: Parness pivots from Maloney’s boys program to the girls

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MERIDEN — After 12 years coaching the Maloney boys soccer team, Dave Parness was ready for a change.

Parness took the Spartans program from one win in his first season in 2011 to the 2018 Class L state championship game. He steadied the program. 

But when the girls soccer job opened after the departure of Eoin McClure following the 2022 season, Parness jumped at it.

“I’m forever grateful for the first group of guys and those parents who were playing or involved in the program when we were bad,” Parness said. “Those kids and those parents were awesome to let me coach. They stood back and let me do what we could do and that set the tone going forward in the program.”

Maloney shocked the Central Connecticut Conference by winning the CCC South division title and the CCC Tournament in 2014. That year, the Spartans also won the program'[s first state tournament game since 2008.

The 2018 run to the state finals featured four one-goal victories, including two on penalty kicks. It ended with a 1-0 loss to a Daniel Hand program that was in the midst of a four-year reign atop Class L.

“Losing that state championship game is always going to bother me,” Parness said. “That was an amazing run. We could have lost in each round and, taking a step back, you wish we finished it.”

The Spartans have continued to be a solid team in the years after. Parness spoke his players on Tuesday to tell them he was stepping down.

“I enjoyed coaching the boys and I never thought in a million years that I would have coached the boys for 12 years,” Parness said. “It was cool to see the growth in the program, making runs in the state tournament.

“I told the guys they are in a good spot now,” Parness added. “They will be back. A lot of the returners were sophomores and, after making the tournament, they are in a good spot going forward. It’s an ideal job to step into.”

He said the girls will present a different challenge that he’s ready to pursue.

“I think the boys are ready for a different voice,” Parness said. “I love soccer and I’m not ready to give it up. I went back and forth to myself and the girls job presented itself and it’s going to be fun to coach the girls.

“Not much is different. I’m still coaching athletes and still coaching soccer. I’m really looking forward to it.”

The switch was confirmed at the Meriden City Council meeting on Tuesday night while Parness’ boys basketball team was playing Lewis Mills.

Parness said he plans on speaking to the girls soccer team by the end of the week.

“I think they are going to be surprised,” Parness said. “I’m excited to sit down with them and pick their brains to see where they are and what we can improve on.”

Parness takes over for Eoin McClure, who stepped down after the 2022 season. The Maloney girls went 6-8-2 overall playing in CCC Tier 1. The Maloney boys were 7-8-2.

Maloney AD Bob McKee said Parness studies the game and is always prepared.

“He listed his reasons for the switch and I was very excited for him,” McKee said. “He’s excited about the new challenge and the girls were excited to have him as a coach when he met with them this week.”

The Maloney boys soccer head coach job will be posted in the coming days.


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