Soccer coach Victor Popovsky has given up his position training kickers at Sheepshead Bay High School to focus more of his time working with the Fontbonne Hall Bonnies, the girls varsity squad he’s led for eight seasons.
Popovsky, who teaches at PS 321 in Park Slope, says he tried to juggle both coaching gigs, but leading both squads became too hard to handle.
“I gave it everything I’ve got, but there is only so much I can do,” he said. “I will still watch Sheepshead Bay. I care for those kids.”
Popovsky has taken Fontbonne to six of the last eight title games in Brooklyn and Queens, and took Sheepshead Bay High School’s girls soccer team to the semifinals two years back. In his last season with the Sheepshead Bay boys, he won a share of titles before falling in the opening round of the playoffs.
Popovsky never missed any of his team’s games, but it quickly became apparent that the winning coach would not be attending every practice — which is a problem.
The city mandates that a coach must attend all of his team’s practices and games, so Popovsky’s frequent absences left the Fontbonne girls’ assistant coach, Brendan Ryan, orchestrating practices. Popovsky felt his lack of time with Fontbonne hurt the squad last year as it saw its title defense end with a loss to Mary Louis Academy in Queens.
Fontbonne players are glad to have Popovsky’s undivided attention.
“It’s a huge confidence boost,” senior forward Cindy Henderson said. “He is here all the time to help us out.”
But Popovsky’s presence hasn’t allowed Fontbonne to escape injuries. Henderson and top defender Kate Oliver are playing with hampering quads. Kristen Schnibbe suffered an ankle injury and freshman Alex McGuire has a dislocated patella.
The injury-plague Bonnies have gotten off to a slow start, but are still in the mix for another crown.
Fontbonne lost to defending league champion Christ the King High School 3–0 after the game was scoreless at the half and fell 1–0 to Mary Louis Academy after failing to convert scoring chances in the second half.
The team feels it can get things turned around with senior Casey Ryan, Marissa Scotto, and Kristina Mandala surrounded by talented sophomores Ericka Cristiano and Delaina Allegretti.
“We all have talent,” Henderson said. “But, the injuries are really a setback.”Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cn