The soccer scene in Ahwatukee is going to have a much different look next season.
It started in March with Michael Rabasca stepping down from the Desert Vista boys program to take a job with the Toronto Football Club of Major League Soccer.
Then news came that Mountain Pointe is looking for both boys and a girls soccer coaches after Bryan Sabato, the boys coach, stepped down and Mark Wilson, the girls coach, replaced Rabasca at Desert Vista.
The only one staying put is Desert Vista coach Marvin Hypolite, who was hired before the 2011-12 season.
As far as who is next up for the two Mountain Pointe programs, Pride athletic director Bryan Winter said they are still going through the interview process.
Wilson, pending board approval, is switching sides of the rivalry where he will join his good buddy Hypolite, both of whom also coach at Ahwatukee Foothills Soccer Club, in the Thunder family. Now they can bounce ideas off of each other instead of competing on opposite sidelines.
“To me it isn’t a rivalry because I’m moving across to the male side of soccer,” Wilson said. “I would not make that move if the DV women’s soccer program was available. Now that is a real rivalry.”
Wilson, who won a state title with the Pride in 2008 in his first season, said it was hard leaving Mountain Pointe, but wanted to try running a boys program.
“It’s all about my growing desire to coach young men,” he said. “My lasting memories at MP are winning state my first year, not making it to the state tournament for two (the last two) years, playing the state finals at ASU and having the hardest working girls team in the state, every year.”
At Desert Vista, he will take over a program that made the finals two years ago and always has a great feeder program that keeps the talent flowing through all levels.
Sabato coached 10 years at Mountain Pointe while also coaching at soccer clubs, most recently at San Tan Soccer Club.
With his daughters — Alyssa and Gianna — getting older something had to give and Sabato decided it was time for a new voice running the Pride program.
“Much like a lot of other coaches my decision to step down is based on the desire and the need to spend more time with my family,” he said. “Having a fourth-grader and one in kindergarten makes it difficult on me to miss so much of their after-school activities. As they both get older and become more involved in school activities and outside sporting events I want to be able to experience those moments of firsts with them.”
It doesn’t mean he walked away from the Pride with ease.
“I will remember all of the faces that have come through the program in my 10 years,” he said. “The first year I was here has to rank at the top of the list. Being able to take over a program with as much talent as that group had in my first year was quite an honor.
“Each team has a special place in my heart. They were all very different and very unique.”
He’ll never regret taking the phone call that led to him wearing the maroon and gold for 10 years.
“I made some great friends and got to work with some incredible families,” he said. “I will remember Ken Parsons calling me one night out of the blue to try and convince me to take over for him. This opportunity allowed me not only the chance to coach a very successful soccer program, but also become a part of the Pride family.”
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