April 27, 2018 - With the 2018 season approaching in the next couple of weeks Dutch Lions FC will post interviews with all the DLFC Head Coaches to hear more about their teams and their expectations on the upcoming season. Our first interview is with Vincent de Weger, Head Coach of the Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC Women's team.
Who is Vincent de Weger?
I am Vincent de Weger, I am 26 years old and I currently live in Cape Coral, Florida. I played competitive soccer at the 2nd and 3rd level in The Netherlands in my youth. I have been coaching since I was 14 years old and coached at two of the biggest clubs in the Netherlands: Argon and AFC Ajax. During my playing career, I obtained my UEFA C coaching license. Now I am the Director of Soccer Operations and Head Coach of our Women’s Team. We play in the WPSL, the 2nd level of competitive female soccer in USA.
Who else is on your coaching staff?
I will be assisted by five people: Davy Hendriks (Assistant Coach), Vitor DeCunha (GK Coach), Matthew Harkness (Athletic Trainer) and Tina Kaiser (Fitness Coach). Davy coached and played at the same level in the Netherlands as I did. He also played in Thailand and has been with the club since September 2016). Vitor was born in Brazil and played for Sao Paolo. Matthew holds a BS from Gordon College, a Master Degree from Nova Southeastern University and a Doctorate in Evidence in Motion. Tina holds a bachelor and master degree in physical education is our Fitness Coach. Shannon Ramos is the Team Manager.
How do you look back on the 2017 season?
Our 1st season in WPSL was one with ups and downs with a lot of very young (local) players. We started with a nerve-wrecking 2-1 home opener victory in front of a WPSL record crowd and a week later we outplayed Daytona Beach and won with 3-0. But after that we lost three games. At the end of the season we came back up with a victory and a few ties. Overall it was an interesting first season where we learned a lot but also gained a huge amount of exposure. What was also great is that Monique Elliott was invited for a trial with our partner ADO Den Haag Women, who play in the Dutch Premier League. That is one of the benefits our club can offer, a chance to become professional in Europe.
What conference do you play in the 2018 season? What is your analysis of the teams in the conference?
We play in the Sunshine Conference of the WPSL. Tampa Bay United is a real competitor, but with three new teams in our Conference and DME leaving the conference it is difficult to predict who is the favorite for the title.
What are your expectations for the 2018 season?
In every single aspect, we want to do better than last year. We want to win more and play attractive (Dutch Lions FC) soccer. Besides that, we want to give the fans what they come for: a win but also an exciting and entertaining event filled with all kinds of activities.
How do you feel about the roster you have out together for the 2018 season?
Personally, the current roster makes me ambitious. We went from fourteen high school players and six college girls to five high school players and seventeen college girls. We will also have some international players. In every single line of the field we have players that will be exciting to watch. I am looking forward to build a quality team with my great staff.
When is the opening game at home and why should people come and watch the team?
Our home opener is June 2 at 4pm vs Pinellas County United SC at North Fort Myers Community Park. A day (June 3) later we play another game at 1pm at the same field vs Tampa Bay United. People should come because we will have some exciting events at both games that we will announce in the coming weeks. From 2 hours before the game till an hour after the game there are several activities. Everything that we do is family and soccer related, so if you live in the are make sure you come join our Orange family!
Dutch Lions FC wishes Vincent and his staff all the best the coming months and will update you weekly on their results!