By G. Demarest
East Mountain High’s new girls soccer coach Brian Pecorella stood like a sentry last Friday morning along the edge of the soccer field at Vista Grande Community Complex in Sandia Park.
Every five seconds or so, he called out instructions to the players who were in the midst of a ball-control drill: “Don’t force it, spread out, spread out. You’ve got to move quicker!”
Pecorella’s been on the job for about a month, monitoring the girls in their morning summer workouts, and the coach said he likes what he’s seen so far.
“They’re willing to work hard, they’re willing to learn, they’re a very talented group,” Pecorella said. “I’m throwing things at them that they’ve never done before, and not only are they picking it up quickly, I haven’t heard anybody say, ‘I can’t do this,’ and walk away, so that pleases me.”
Pecorella has more than 20 years of coaching experience and even played semi-professional soccer when he was younger. He was Moriarty High’s boys soccer coach from 2004-2007, and he helmed Manzano’s girls team from 2010-2013.
And Pecorella has coached several club soccer teams.
He said he was ready to get back into coaching a high school team, particularly a small school, and East Mountain’s opening appealed to him.
“I love this area, it’s beautiful out here,” he said. “And [the school] wanted somebody with solid coaching experience who’s going to be committed, they want to build the program.”
After a number of mediocre years that generally brought more defeats than victories, East Mountain’s girls squad made big strides the last two seasons under former head coach Eric Taylor.
Taylor piloted the Lady Timberwolves to consecutive winning seasons and post-season state tournament berths, including reaching the quarterfinals last year where they fell to state champion Hope Christian.
“I want to keep going with what Mr. Taylor started because he was on the right track,” Pecorella said, adding that he will teach fundamentals, instill in the girls a sense of pride in what they do, and motivate them to work as hard as they can as a team—something that will be a key factor when playing against larger schools.
The T’Wolves are aligned in a class with 26 other schools, some with twice as many students as East Mountain.
“You look at some of the other teams and they’ve got enough [players] for two teams and we’ve got barely enough for one,” Pecorella said. “But you heard our captain say that that just means more playing time for our girls, and that’s the approach I want them to take.”
And because the team is short on numbers Pecorella noted the importance of taking an intelligent approach to the game. “We’ve got to work smarter as a team,” he said. “We’re going to move the ball around, play smart soccer and see what happens, that’s all we can do.”
The Lady T’Wolves are scheduled to open their season Aug. 18 against Socorro.
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.