April 29, 2018 - The second interview with one of the Dutch Lions FC Head Coaches about the expectations for the 2018 season is with Dayton Dutch Lions FC's newly appointed Head Coach Dan Griest. Here is what Dan had to say about the upcoming season.
Who is Dan Griest?
I was born and raised here in the Dayton area. I was invited to the U17 National Pool Trials. I played at Butler and Wright State University, as well as some in the old A-League with the Cincinnati Riverhawks and Cincinnati Kings in the USL as well as some semi-pro indoor with the Cincinnati Saints. I have been the Head Coach at various levels in the Dayton area for the past 15 years, including my alma mater in Northwestern High School, local youth clubs with the BSA Celtics (currently) and the Ohio Galaxies, as well as numerous years with the Ohio South Olympic Development Staff Head Coach of the U17 and U18 boys. I have been the Head Coach of the now defunct Dayton Dynamo of the NSPL the last two seasons, including overseeing the “worst to first” turnaround from year one to year two. I took over halfway through season one when head coach was terminated. I was nominated for Coach of the Year in the NSPL, taking a 1-10-1 program to tie for first place in the Eastern Conference as well as win a playoff game and make the NPSL Midwest final four, ultimately losing to Ann Arbor 1-0 in extra time. I have a NSCAA National Diploma.
Who else is on your coaching staff?
Kevin Terrell and Catherine Gordon are the Assistant Coaches. Kevin is from Dayton with ties to the soccer community and longtime friend of mine since we were teammates at the youth level. He coached a local High School, Bellbrook HS for 10+ years. Catherine was also Assistant Coach for me in the NPSL last season. She is also a goalkeeping coach with 17 years experience and over 30 years of playing experience. She has worked at all levels from youth to professional and was involved with the Dayton Dutch Lions FC USL PRO team from 2013 to 2015.
What conference do you play in the 2018 season? What is your analysis of the teams in the conference?
We play in the Great Lakes Division of the USL PDL. A tremendously challenging Division that has produced three of the last four PDL National Champions. I believe the Michigan Bucks will once again be the frontrunner to take home the title given their ability to recruit top notch players from all over the country. I believe the Lansing squad that is moving over from the NPSL to the PDL will also prove to be a tremendously good side, as they have been established for quite some time and I believe they will seamlessly move into the Division and be extremely competitive.
What are your expectations for the 2018 season?
I am extremely optimistic that with the group we have compiled, we will be challenging the Bucks for a Division title. I think we have a great mix of young and hungry players ready to make their mark on the League, as well as some very talented former professionals from the USL and higher levels trying to impress and get another opportunity.
How do you feel about the roster you have out together for the 2018 season?
I am extremely excited to see just what we are going to have when everyone has arrived. I feel like we have a good mixture of young and hungry guys chomping at the bit to have big summers and make a name for themselves on a national level, as well as some very experienced older players that can help them stay organized and focused in our collective goals.
When is the opening game at home and why should people come and watch the team?
We are going to play intense, high pressure, attacking soccer that should be thoroughly entertaining to any and all fans. We have a lot of young and talented players, a few of which will go on and play at the USL or MLS level, so hopefully the Dayton community will take the opportunity to come check them out to before they move on to bigger and brighter things. Our first home match is Friday May 18th, and I hope the Dayton fans will come out and cheer on the many local products that have grown up in the youth systems here in the Dayton area and new and exciting talent we have brought in to compete for them this summer.
Dutch Lions FC wishes Dan and his staff all the best the coming months and will update you weekly on their results!