Under new coach Marcos Giovannoni, the Los Altos High girls soccer team has recovered nicely from last year’s two-win season.
The Eagles entered this week atop the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division with a 9-1 record.
“Last year, stylistically, the coach wasn’t a great fit because he wanted us to play a direct attack even though we aren’t a physical team in the air,” team captain Michelle Odnert said. “This year, Marcos took the time to evaluate our strengths and has crafted game plans, drills and formations surrounding those strengths.”
Giovannoni has a postgraduate degree in soccer science from the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil, his native country. He moved to the Bay Area in the fall from New York.
“One of my friends from here told me that the position was open at Los Altos High School,” Giovannoni said. “I used to coach high school, so I thought that it was good work to come here and meet some people through the high school team.”
Giovannoni, who holds a Class A coaching license, has guided several soccer teams over the years. His last stop was as coach at Weston High School in Connecticut.
“I used to run a soccer club there as well,” Giovannoni said. “I’ve been coaching in the United States since 2011, and I’ve coached in over 45 states.”
When Giovannoni arrived at Los Altos, he had his work cut out for him. He took over a team demoted to the El Camino Division after placing last in the SCVAL De Anza Division with an 0-10-2 record last season. The Eagles went 2-13-2 overall.
Giovannoni said his first goal was to help the girls improve by making sure they had sufficient training for their games.
“I need to improve the girls individually if we’re going to have a strong team,” he said early in the season. “I’ve been working as a coach for a long time, I’m hoping for a better season this year.”
While the Eagles got off to a slow start – going 0-5 prior to league – they now find themselves in a position to make the playoffs.
Odnert credits Giovannoni for helping Los Altos make such significant strides.
“Everything he does is because he cares about soccer, the team and the people he’s coaching,” the junior said. “I’ve never played for a coach who is more invested in a team, and this is directly influencing our play on the field.”
Win or lose, Giovannoni is adamant that his team plays the right way.
“Even if we’re losing, I want to make sure we play a competitive game,” he said.
The Eagles – who edged host Gunn 2-1 Friday on goals by Sarah Stoops and Zoe La Poll – are scheduled to host Milpitas 3:30 p.m. Friday in their last home game of the regular season.