Jose Garcia takes over for Angelo DiBernardo at Waubonsie Valley

SHARE Jose Garcia takes over for Angelo DiBernardo at Waubonsie Valley

A new era will begin with a familiar face at the helm of the Waubonsie Valley boys soccer program.

Jose Garcia has been named the head coach after spending the past four seasons as the top assistant to legendary coach Angelo DiBernardo.

DiBernardo was let go in December after compiling a 335-147-55 record over 23 seasons.

“It’s one of those things where it’s bittersweet,” Garcia said. “It’s sad that Angelo has left the program because he was a great mentor to me, but I’m excited to move the program forward.”

It is a program with a fine tradition. The Warriors had just three losing seasons under DiBernardo. They won 11 regional championships, five sectional titles and the school’s only state trophy, a third-place finish in 2000. They also won seven conference crowns.

Waubonsie Valley athletic director Chris Neibch, who made the decision to switch coaches, thinks the transition should be seamless.

“One of the things we really like about Jose is his passion for Waubonsie Valley and for Waubonsie Valley soccer,” Neibch said. “He’s a student of the game of soccer and he had a tremendous mentor the past four years.”

Garcia, who played high school soccer at the now-closed Quigley Prep in Chicago and two seasons of college ball at Valparaiso, doesn’t anticipate making major changes, though he vowed to be innovative.

“I just kind of want to continue with the same traditions, but also make it more modern in terms of technology,” Garcia said. “I want to make sure the parents are well-informed, maybe have a website.”

In that way Garcia will be taking a page from the book of Waubonsie Valley girls coach Julie Bergstrom, who maintains a comprehensive website that is regularly updated. Bergstrom will remain in the boys’ program as the freshman coach. Assistant C.J. Schmidt also returns.

“[Garcia] and Julie have a really good relationship,” Neibch said. “He’s always picking her brain.”

The Warriors return seven players from the squad that went 10-8-2 and won a regional title in 2013. Waubonsie upset Naperville North in the sectional semifinals before losing to Naperville Central 2-0 in the sectional final.

“I think the players are all excited for the upcoming season,” Garcia said. “I know the players because I teach most of them. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Garcia’s career begins next week when the Warriors open summer camp. While it is too early for him to make predictions, he noted the Naperville area is filled with extremely strong competition.

The Warriors finished in the top two of the Upstate Eight Conference 14 times under DiBernardo but will find chasing league titles much harder when the three District 204 schools join the DuPage Valley in 2015.

“It will be tough because we’re moving over to the DVC, but I want to hold my own,” Garcia said. “There’s a lot of talent at all these schools in Naperville. It will be great to coach against these good coaches.”

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