It wasn’t that long ago the Dougherty Valley boys’ soccer team was a doormat in the Easy Bay Athletic League.
But that all began to change when Bijan Sadeghy and Kevin Clark took over as co-coaches for the Wildcats last season.
The long-time San Ramon youth soccer club coaches were familiar with the Dougherty players, but were coaching at other schools.
Sadeghy coached Bishop O’Dowd to an North Coast Section title in 2011-12, then in 2013 took over the Ygnacio Valley program where he was until 2020. Clark was the head man for the Clayton Valley team. Both felt the need to come to Dougherty Valley.
“We thought the kids deserved more than they were getting,” said Sadeghy. “When the job came open, we wanted to give them that chance.”
And they have.
Last year in their first year of coaching the team went 8-7-5 overall, and 2-6-5 EBAL mark. The numbers were good enough to get a NCS berth that saw the team knock out Pittsburg in the first round before dropping a 1-0 game to Clayton Valley in the second round.
There was plenty of reasons why to expect even more this year.
“We were very young last year,” said Sadeghy. “We are still young this year, but we knew we had the talent. The boys bought ii and this year, and we started to roll.”
Dougherty Valley is young, starting only three seniors, with four sophomores occupying starting roles.
The work such as such a solid weight program and year round communication by coaching in the youth programs has resulted in a great regular season.
“We try to emulate a college program,” said Sadeghy. “We keep the relationships going throughout the year.”
With a 12-3-4 overall mark, and EBAL mark of 10-0-3, the Wildcats are one of the teams to beat for the NCS playoffs that start this week.
The No. 2 seed for the D-I tournament, they have a legit shot to win it all.
A surprise even to the confident coaching staff.
“If you would have told me last year, this is where would have been at this point and I would have told you that you are crazy,” said Sadeghy. “But here we are.”
Dougherty Valley is the lone unbeaten team in league, having hung a 2-0 loss on De La Salle, and tying Monte Vista 1-1 late in the season.
“We have been blown away by the boys this season,” said Sadeghy. “We may be reaching a bit, but we wanted to win league and NCS this season. Just to see the boys from freshman to sophomores, then sophomores to juniors – they have grown a lot.”
The senior leaders have been Keyan Shaughnessy at striker and Gerard Kong, a front line running mate for Shaughnessy. The duo is joined by three junior for form the core for the Wildcats.
Matas Drevinskas (forward), Shota Lam (defense) and Kyle Young (defense) are the three juniors that will also be back next season.
It also has been a team that has flown under the radar throughout most of the season.
I didn’t realize how good the team was doing until halfway through the season, rather just expecting a tough season for the Wildcats.
Even at their own school the team is quietly getting the job done.
“Our school basketball team is always so good,” said of the 24-3 DV boys’ basketball team that is ranked No. 12 in California. “It is fantastic how good they are every season. But we are starting to get a little buzz.”
Now they have the chance to hang a section banner in the gym, which would carve out a niche at the school.
There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.