Tommies Name David Itoafa as Head Coach
The following story is courtesy of St. Thomas University Athletics https://www.gotommies.ca/sports/wsoc/2022-23/releases/DavidItoafaNamedWSOCHeadCoach.
The St. Thomas Tommies Women’s Soccer program have found their new head coach, taking over for long time head coach Michelle DeCourcey. DeCourcey stepped away from the Tommies after eight years.
David Itoafa, who last coached the Fredericton District Soccer Association U15 Boys team, will take over as the new head coach of the Tommies.
“What made me interested in coaching the Tommies was seeing the positive impact the program has had on our community,” Itoafa said. “The opportunity to continue to grow as a person and coach by learning from the athletes is a blessing.”
Itoafa said he’s had multiple chances to watch the Tommies, whether it be in league games or in winter training. There isn’t a certain player he’s most excited to coach, saying he sees great potential throughout the whole roster. He expects to build on their potential right away and be consistent contenders for an ACAA Championship each season.
“All players returning and committed have great potential and will be important for a successful season,” he said. “The end goal will be a thriving and unified soccer community in Fredericton and to be a consistent ACAA Championship contender every year.”
Itoafa had a sensational playing career – having graduated from Ecole Sainte Anne in 2013, Itoafa went on to play in New York, USA, for Siena College, a Division-1 school the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Following his college career, Itoafa continued his playing career in Romania for the Otelul Galati. Itoafa’s parents, who inspired him to take up soccer and coaching, are originally from Romania, immigrating to Fredericton in 1995.
“I grew up with my dad coaching me throughout my youth career playing with FDSA and Team NB,” he said. “My father’s passion for the game has been my inspiration to continue to push and grow as a player and coach.”
Itoafa’s father coached the 2013 New Brunswick Team in the Canada Games.
For Itoafa, coaching at the university level was never a goal in his mind – it started as a way of learning the game from a different angle, as well as giving back to the community. “I started coaching during my playing career because it helped me get a deeper understanding of the game,” he said. “I always had an interest in coaching and saw it as a great way to stay involved in the game after graduating. I was asked to coach Ecole Sainte Anne in 2019 and I enjoyed it more than I could have ever imagined. Seeing the players grow so much in so little time and being able to impart some of the wisdom I learned from my playing career was fulfilling and felt important … Coaching at the university level was never a goal of mine, it was always about finding a way to give back to the city and the people that sacrificed so much to help me achieve my soccer goals.” STU Athletics Director, Michael Eagles, couldn’t be more excited to welcome Itoafa to the Tommies’ family.
“We are excited to announce that David Itoafa will be the new head coach of our Women’s Soccer program. David has an impressive soccer resume of being a NCAA varsity athlete, professional player and coaching here in the community. We look forward to the years ahead with great anticipation,” Eagles said. “We are very thankful for the time and effort put in over the years by Michelle DeCourcey her assistant coaches, Amy Hughes and Vanessa Pettersson and wish them the very best in the future.”
Itoafa made it clear he wanted to build on DeCourcey and her staff’s legacy – the Tommies had multiple playoff runs under DeCourcey and an ACAA title in 2017.
“I am so grateful that Michelle and John-Ryan [Morrison] have made it really easy going forward,” Itoafa said. “Michelle has done such a great job, so the big focus will be following in her footsteps and continue building on her positivity and kindness. She has done a great job of building up this young group so we should be able to compete for an ACAA title right away and we will aim to win every season.”