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Passion for soccer guides new coach

Carlie McNiff, Staff Writer

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Soccer became Dylan Darga’s passion at a young age.

“Soccer has always been an important part of my life ever since I can remember,” said Darga, the first-year girls’ varsity soccer coach, who began playing the sport at age 5. “It is one of my strongest passions.”
After that beginning in youth soccer in Fruitport, Darga continued his soccer career at Fruitport High School. During his junior and senior years, the Trojans were back-to-back conference and district champions.

“The things I love about soccer the most are the lessons we learn from it as well as the friendships we make playing it,” said Darga, who replaces Lindsey Thorsen. “The game can teach us so many life skills, such as discipline, work ethic, overcoming adversity, and sportsmanship.”

After graduating from Fruitport in 2004, Darga attended Muskegon Community College for two years, studying general education. He also played soccer for their club team from 2004-2005 and was a captain. Darga then attended Grand Valley State University, graduating in 2010. During his time at GVSU, he was the coach of the JV boys’ soccer team at Sparta High School.

At GVSU, Darga received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and minored in history.
Eventually, Darga was hired at Muskegon Public Schools to teach technology (K-6) in their elementary buildings. After a year and a half, he got a job at Marquette Elementary teaching a 5/6 split class. After that, he taught fourth grade for two years and is currently teaching his second year of third grade.

Darga, who has been coaching soccer at two schools (JV girls at Reeths-Puffer and JV boys at Fruitport) for the past six years, said he chose to apply at Shores because of the high-level soccer program.

“This is not an ordinary program,” Darga said. “Mona Shores girls’ soccer has a reputation of being a top program in West Michigan and probably the best in Muskegon County. It is an honor to be able to coach for such a great program and school. Everything is held to a high standard at Mona Shores, and the soccer program is going to be no different.”

Darga said he is excited for the season.

“I am looking forward to getting to know everyone as well as getting on the field and competing for conference, district, and state championships,” he said. “From what I have seen and know, we have the potential to compete at a high level. I cannot wait to get the season started.”

Darga has one important mentality he encourages his players to be set on to motivate them.

“I want my teams to hate losing more than they like to win,” he said. “This mentality will be seen on the pitch, at practice and even in the classroom.”

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