|Photo by Devese Ursery / Forum|
By DEVESE URSERY of the Forum
On December 21, 2011, St. Louis Community College proclaimed the hiring of local product, Dan O’Keefe, as the head coach of the Archers men’s soccer team. This will be O’Keefe’s second term of action with the Archers. His first stint was during the 1996 season as head coach of the women’s soccer team. Before that O’Keefe enjoyed a productive career as a forward in the American Indoor Soccer Association (AISA, presently named the National Professional Soccer League). O’Keefe’s career spanned 10 years with stints on six professional teams from 1983—95, including one year with ST. Louis Ambush (1992-93). He was also selected as first team NPSL all-star in the 1991-92 season.
In a recent interview O’Keefe revealed that this year’s crop of student/athletes have the skill level and creativity to sure up the inadequacies in the scoring department that plagued the team last season. The new consolidation format, which was implemented last year, has allowed for the influx of a batch of fresh new talent. Newcomers like Andrew Branca (St. Mary’s), Nino Adrovic (S. St. Louis City), Jesus Morales (Venezuela), Allen Cox and the son of the head coach, Cullan O’Keefe (McCluer North) are an energetic bunch that are geared for greatness. “I was pleasantly surprised by the skill level of my newcomers,” said Coach O’Keefe. Players like Ryan Delk, Tolga Bolan (Turkey), Ryan Sanfilipo (Hazelwood Central), Joey Ianazone (Eureka) and Adam Brakaw (Vianney) make up the core nucleus of the team. O’Keefe asserts that “each one of them have really good basic skill levels and it’s my job to take that raw talent and sharpen it into something precise.”
Being a bona fide scorer throughout his entire career, including high school and college, it’s obvious that he was brought into the mix to help boost the teams scoring prowess. Coach O’Keefe has come into the fold with a plan for success. He has a short-term goal of getting everybody to play up to his highest level. While his long term goals are to get the team’s skill level, fitness and tactics to fuse together before the playoffs in order to make a strong run for the National Championship. With a formidable defense already intact the offensive minded coach is preparing his team to become a scoring juggernaut. The Archers have a solid veteran core and some hungry youngsters that are confident that they can hit their mark of making the playoffs and eventually play for the title.
Since the age of five soccer has been a major part of the coach’s life. For years O’Keefe has been a distinguished and prominent figure in the St. Louis – area youth soccer while working with the Scott Gallagher Soccer Club. He has also coached young athletes at the Maryville University soccer camp, since 1984. O’Keefe is a native of St. Louis whose esteemed playing career began at McCluer High School. He also played collegiately at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville from 1980-83. In 1983, the Kansas City Comets picked up Dan O’Keefe in the second round of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Draft.
O’Keefe’s message to his players are simple ones; commit to the team, play with confidence and challenge their own abilities.
For a listing of the men and women soccer team, as well as the volleyball team’s schedule, check out the Forum blog at www.fvforumflo.blogspot.com.