New OV girls’ soccer coach John White has high hopes

BRANDON — According to newest girls’ varsity head coach in Brandon, soccer at Otter Valley is due for a comeback.
“If you go look at the banners in the gym, we were winning state championships and conferences with soccer in the ’80s and ’90s,” said John White.  
After working as a coach and trainer, White thinks the time to hang some new banners is now.  
“It kind of took a quarter-century off, but I think we have a good chance in the next couple years. Everyone’s excited that it’s all coming to a head.”
White, a Pittsford resident, brings experience as both a player and a coach to his new role at Otter Valley.
Growing up in Dallas, Texas, he played high school soccer and attended Burlington College (now Rowan College) in Glassboro, N.J. 
In the ’90s, he coached age 20-and-younger club teams in Dallas, Texas, and after moving to Vermont, coached at the premier club level with Vermont Elite for five years, during which he won two state championships with the girls’ team. He coached the boys’ and girls’ soccer squads at Otter Valley Union Middle School for six years and also provided one-on-one training for athletes. He spent the past two years in Rutland at the College of St. Joseph as the men’s soccer coach, where he produced five all-Americans. The team was conference champions for both years of his tenure. In the summer, he runs a pre-season soccer camp in Pittsford. He’s served six years on the Pittsfield Recreation Committee, though he left the committee recently. 
“I stepped aside so other people who could spend more time with it could take over,” he said. “The rec department’s been doing really well in the past years and has been setting up some great programs.”
He was also the former owner of Vites and Herbs in Middlebury.
Coaching remains one of White’s passions. 
“It’s how I can still be part of the game and pass on what I’ve learned to the next generation,” he said. “There’s a spot that I saw needed to be filled and it started with the little tykes and grew from there.” 
After years of coaching local soccer at the recreational and middle school levels, he’s familiar with the growing pool of talent in Brandon and Pittsford. White said bringing together these students athletes is something a homecoming. 
“We’re basically reunited,” he said. “We have a lot of familiarity with each other and they’re getting their step back real fast. I foresee some good things this season.”
White said this year’s 17-person OV girls’ squad has good balance in offense and defense and a group of veteran players who have good experience. 
“They play well together,” he said. “There’s no jealousy. They have a good feel of what each other is capable of. They work hard together, which in soccer makes you a great team.” 
A weakness he hopes to work on: conditioning. 
“You can’t be in just good enough shape, so that’s something we’re going to have to get better at,” he said. “But they’re going to be able to run with anyone in their league. ” 
White said he wants to see patient and highly technical soccer that doesn’t rely on physicality and sloppy ball work. White admits another weakness is the amount of time he’s spent with the team.  
“I haven’t been with the same group of kids the same as other coaches, so that’s a weakness,” he said. “But I would bet they’ll be playing their best ball by the end of the season,” he said. 
White said the team is off to a confident start after winning a pre-season tournament against Brattleboro, Twin Valley, Green Mountain, Winooski and Bellows Falls on Aug. 25. 
“Our center back Leah Pinkowski said it best: ‘Otter Valley’s back,’” he said. 

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