Springdale girls soccer hopes new coach is a hit
Monday, July 29, 2019 | 5:37 PM
A lot of hit songs have come out of Liverpool, England. Bands like the Beatles, A Flock of Seagulls and 1980’s sensation Rick Astley all claim the city as home.
Springdale’s betting it found the next big hit in new girls soccer coach and Liverpool native Marc Bentley as the Dynamos prepare for another run at a WPIAL title.
“(Bentley) had worked with Jerry (Concannon), our previous coach, during camps and different things,” Springdale Athletic Director Ray Davis said. “Jerry helped us in the process, and he recommended Mark. Mark was very enthusiastic.
“It’s his first coaching job, but he has the knowledge. The program is on pretty solid ground, and we wanted someone to come in and keep the program going, and we felt he was the man to do that.”
Bentley takes over for Concannon, the long-time coach who took the program to new heights. Concannon coached from 2007-18 and he led Springdale to state championship game appearances in 2009 and ‘11, and three berths in the PIAA semifinals in ‘07, 08 and ‘10. The Dynamos won the WPIAL Class AA championship in 2009. Last season, Springdale finished 11-7 and reached the quarterfinals, losing to top seed and eventual champion, Freedom, 5-3.
“I’m really excited about it, and I’m really looking forward to starting the preseason,” Bentley said. “I have some big footsteps to follow in.”
Bentley first came to the United States to coach soccer and eventually ended up playing it.
Bentley, 27, is a 2019 Point Park grad. He played centerback for the Pioneers men’s soccer team, was named one of the team captains and was the Pioneers’ top-scoring defender last season with three goals. He earned NAIA-Daktronics Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete honors and was selected to the Google Cloud NAIA All-America Men’s Soccer Team.
“When I first came over here from England, I coached for a company based in the UK, and they send coaches out to America and that’s why I came over,” Bentley said. “From there, I ended up going to school, so when I heard about the job opening, I thought it was a great opportunity.”
There’s plenty of opportunity and familiarity for Bentley and the Dynamos. Springdale is expecting a large freshmen class. A class that is familiar with Bentley. Springdale will need to replace nine players from last season.
“The last couple of years, I (coached) a youth program with the Harmar Soccer Club, so I know some of the younger girls coming thorough,” Bentley said. “I know we’ve got a lot of ninth graders coming through this year, which is exciting because they’re starting the same time as me.”
Bentley prefers a possession-oriented offense. Everyone being on the same page and the ability to make crisp passes will be crucial for Springdale’s success.
“Being able to find the pass and being able to work triangle, diamonds and keeping the ball,” Bentley said. “The game is a lot easier when you have the ball rather than when you are chasing it.”
Springdale will start chasing another WPIAL title when preseason camp opens up Aug. 12.
“I’m looking forward to being able to develop them and watch them grow,” Bentley said. “There will be some opportunities for freshmen this year, no doubt.”
William Whalen is a freelance writer.