High school soccer: Tom Pecore looking to build Newcastle boys soccer program
NEWCASTLE – The offer was too promising for Tom Pecore to turn down.
The former Putnam North soccer coach, who had spent 18 seasons at the school and collected 269 wins during his tenure, had recently retired. Newcastle athletic director Nikki McCann, who used to coach girls basketball at Putnam North, was friends with Pecore and invited him to come coach at Newcastle. She wanted to change the culture of the Newcastle boys soccer program.
Pecore said McCann has to twist his arm pretty good to come out of retirement, but the promise of where the program could go was thrilling.
“Newcastle is really a unique community,” Pecore said. “It’s really, really growing. It’s going to be the next Deer Creek, the next Piedmont.”
Newcastle is 5-5 with about two weeks left in the regular season. Two of its losses are to Class 6A schools. The Class 4A Racers went 2-10 a season ago, so Pecore’s turnaround process is off to a successful start.
Part of his team’s early accomplishments is because of sophomore goalkeeper Casey Porter. Nearly every goalie who played for Pecore at Putnam North went on to play in college and some beyond. Before Pecore watched Porter play a game, he knew there was plenty of talent.
“I’ve coaches a lot of goalies who went on to play in Major League Soccer and in Europe,” Pecore said. “He’s right up there as far as ability, and he’s going to get better every day.”
Pecore compared Porter to Energy FC goalkeeper Bryan Byers, who played at Putnam North and was the Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year in 2007.
Porter spearheads a talented group of freshmen and sophomores who are leading Newcastle this season. The turnaround has only started, yet Pecore is excited to see what his team can do.
“I had great success (at Putnam North),” Pecore said. “Sometimes, as a coach, you have to change. Change is good. I looked at this as an opportunity to do that.”