PITSBURG – After a successful 17-year coaching career at Franklin Monroe High School, Coach Danny Diceanu is moving on to coach the Newton Lady Indians soccer team beginning with the 2020-2021 season.
“I really enjoyed the 17 years,” said Diceanu. “If I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I did. The kids there have been tremendous, talent has been fantastic over the years, the teams have been rewarding, challenging and a great experience.”
“I had some great kids, several All-State players, many All-Conference players and Players of the Year in the conference,” he added. “It has been a fantastic experience. Something that I will cherish forever. Great memories, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. They don’t last forever.”
The Romanian born Diceanu first began playing soccer at a very young age growing up in Brasov, Romania.
“I first started catching the soccer bug growing up in Romania,” stated Diceanu. “I remember playing in my house in Romania with rolled up sox because I didn’t have a ball yet. I remember playing so much in the house that mom popped my ball because I wouldn’t put it away. I played in the streets a lot, with friends out in the school yard so that was really my first love, playing over there.”
In 1972 at the age of 10, Diceanu moved to Rome, Italy with his family where he continued to hone his soccer skills.
“While living in Italy I played a lot in the park with kids and my dad – pickup games,” shared Diceanu. “Soccer is big in Italy. There was always a chance to play.”
The family spent six months in Italy before moving to the United States in 1973 landing in New Jersey speaking no English and where soccer was not played.
“When we came to the states there was really no soccer where I went to school in Ridgewood, NJ,” Diceanu said. “I didn’t speak English obviously so I had to learn the language over the summer playing with the kids in the neighborhood.”
“The school didn’t have any soccer – I was fifth grade but I still played a little bit here and there as much as I could with the kids around the neighborhood,” Diceanu noted. “The kids mostly played baseball and it was new to me. My neighbor used to make fun of me because I wasn’t used to the glove so a ground ball hit to me I would instead of picking it up with the glove, I would pop it up with my foot and then play it.”
After several years in Ridgewood the family moved to Bloomfield, NJ where Diceanu attended a Catholic school in the eighth grade playing soccer before enrolling in Bloomfield Senior High School, a large school with nearly 700 students in his class.
Playing on the eighth grade soccer team, Diceanu was the leading scoring and team MVP on a team that lost just one game and defeated teams they had not defeated before.
“I was going to go and try out for football,” Diceanu said of his freshman year. “One of my friends was talking me out of going for football and going to a soccer meeting. I decided to go soccer and the rest is history.”
Playing for the Bloomfield Bengals soccer team, Diceanu was one of three freshman starters and went on to start four years for the big D-I soccer program earning unanimous All-State his senior season along with serving as team captain and leading scorer.
“We had a good team,” Diceanu said. “We were in the top five in the state, we won the county tournament. We didn’t win state but won what is Regionals here. We won some titles.”
Following high school graduation in New Jersey, Diceanu moved on to continue his education while playing soccer for The University of Scranton Royals located in Pennsylvania where he played for the National Championship his freshman season.
“We got beat in four overtimes to Glassboro State,” Diceanu said. “My sophomore and junior year we made it to the final four and my senior year we go beat in the regionals.
As a freshman, Diceanu was the third leading scorer for the Royals with accolades mounting the following three seasons receiving All-Conference his sophomore season, All-Conference and All-Region his junior year playing striker his first three seasons.
Diceanu saved the best for his senior year garnering All-Conference, All-Region, Conference MVP, Conference Player of the Year and All-American after moving from striker to center midfield for his senior year.
In 2004, Diceanu was inducted into the University of Scranton Wall of Fame.
“It was a really high honor for me,” said the Diceanu. “I was surprised, it was a great honor. I was not expecting to get anything that I did get, I just enjoyed playing. I played as hard as I could, the best I could and didn’t like to lose. I did all I could to try to win the game and the rest was all extras.”
With his parents living in Columbus, Ohio by this time, Diceanu moved to Columbus where he played for the Columbus Capitals soccer team for a short time only to have the league fold at the end of the season.
Diceanu took a coaching job at Division-I Groveport Madison High School on the outskirts of Columbus where coached soccer for two seasons.
“We played all the teams around Columbus like Westerville South, Dublin, Thomas Worthington, all teams that have won state at some point in time in Division-I, so it was very competitive league,” said Diceanu. “We would take our beatings from those guys. They were very good and we were kind of middle of the pack .500 or so.”
From there, Diceanu took the coaching job at St. Charles in Columbus for one year before commuting for two years to Darke County coaching club soccer, having been associated with club soccer in New Jersey and Columbus.
The year 2003 began a 17-year highly success Franklin Monroe varsity soccer coaching career that included two OHSAA State Coach of the Year honors in 2012 and 2014.
“When the position came open at FM in 2003 I had the time and the interest and put my application in,” Diceanu state. “I ended up getting that position and I’ve been here ever since.”
Coach Diceanu had nothing but praise for the Franklin Monroe soccer program, a program where he mostly coached the boys teams with a few years coaching both the boys and girls teams and a few co-ed teams.
“I had some very good teams, some very good talent, good kids, they are all good kids, these guys were good kids and good players at the same time,” noted Diceanu. “Good athletes that played a lot of soccer, enjoyed it and wanted to be pushed.”
While coaching at FM Coach Diceanu scheduled some of the state’s best teams each year.
“You have to play good teams,” Diceanu said. “Iron sharpens iron. I always liked to play good teams because it tells you where you stand, shows your team where the other team is and how much you have to go to improve. There is no shame in getting beat by a good team.”
Coach Diceanu now turns his coaching career to the Newton Lady Indians after 17 years at the helm of the Jets soccer program.
“I haven’t had a chance to meet the team yet,” said Diceanu. “I know from playing them in the past they are very athletic and good kids who play hard. They have a great facility and a competitive team. They are a top two or three in the conference and top 10 or 12 in the area.”
“I was supposed to meet the team the week they closed the school so I didn’t get a chance to do that,” Diceanu said of the Coronavirus. “I haven’t had a chance to see the girls play or give them the information they might be looking for going forward – the summertime the expectations are or how things are going to be. I’m looking forward to meeting the team and taking on this new challenge.”
Coach Diceanu took time to thank his wife, Claudette and their children, Zach, Bryanna, Brydon, Maya and Crew for their years of support.
“Through the years and all the time I spent away coaching between Cincinnati and club soccer here in the area or high school, all the times that I was gone, I had tremendous support from my wife and kids coming to games or helping out with team dinners or whatever was done, banquets and so forth,” said Coach Diceanu. “It has been a pleasure to have their support, their backing because I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Coach Diceanu along with former pro soccer player and friend, Marcel Matis run Matis Pro Soccer camps for kids. For information contact Coach Diceanu at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Newton Lady Indians soccer team opens 2020-2021 play against the Greenville Lady Wave at Greenville’s Harmon Field.
PHOTO CAPTION: Former FM soccer coach Danny Diceanu takes the Newton Lady Indians soccer coaching position. (Gaylen Blosser photo)