Dean Melitsanopoulos never saw this coming. He kicked, chased, passed and, mostly, scored while playing soccer. Coaching? The last thing I thought Id do, Melitsanopoulos says, is come back and coach.
It has been a serendipitous journey, but the Norwalk native now roams the sidelines as a coach in the Westport Soccer Association. He played at Brown University, where he helped the team win a pair of Ivy League championships. and then reached the NCAA Tournament. Winning is his habit. When he was a sophomore at Norwalk High, his team took home the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference title. When he transferred to Rye Country Day, a pair of league titles followed. He also starred for the Beachside Soccer Club premier team.
During a summer break from college, he hooked up with Westport Soccer Association director Mickey Kydes, a friend of Melitsanopoulos father, Dino, for more than 20 years. Slowly, Melitsanopoulos immersed himself in coaching, learning from other coaches in Kydes program. Now, he cant see not coaching. I didnt know how Id take to it, but its wonderful. It has just been amazing right from the start.
Melitsanopoulos has worked with a variety of teams as a floater so far, but hopes to have his own team this spring. He plans to attend law school in the fall in New York City, which could curtail time dedicated to coaching.
Soccer runs in his family. Melitsanopoulos' older brother, Paul, coaches in Westport and for the Norwalk High School team. A younger brother, Andrew, started as a freshman for the Bears last fall.
With Dean's passion for soccer, its going to be tough even for law books to keep him off of the sidelines. Its not about winning soccer games, Melitsanopoulos says. Its about becoming a better person. Its about sacrifice, working hard and pushing through borders you didnt think youd be able to break.
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