Later this summer Mike Mordocco will begin his first season as head coach of LIU Post’s men soccer team.
But the Pioneers rookie head coach recently had the opportunity to work with the United States Paralympic National Team, serving as part of Stuart Sharp’s coaching staff at the team’s camp in Lakewood Ranch, Fl., which ran from June 22 to June 28.
Mordocco worked with the three goalkeepers on the national roster as the team prepares for the 2018 International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football Copa America in October.
“As the team builds towards this year’s Copa America, and in the absence of our regular goalkeeper coach, I felt it important to bring in an experienced staff member who could ensure that goalkeepers on the squad were receiving quality coaching,” Sharp said. “I spoke to a number of coaches in my network and Mike [Mordocco] came up as a coach who would fit perfectly with the team’s ambitions and philosophy.”
Members of the Paralympic team have suffered traumatic brain injuries, including those that have suffered a stroke or born with cerebral palsy. According to U.S. Soccer, the athletes may display varying degrees of various impairments, including balance issues, coordination issues and weakness in certain areas of the body. In many cases, the conditions that the athletes suffer from may result in minimal levels of motor dysfunction, but under the rules of the sport the athlete may still be eligible for the Paralympic squad.
“I was truly honored for the opportunity to contribute towards the preparation for Copa America this fall,” said Mordocco. “I would like to thank the USPNT and the organization for their professionalism, and I would like to show appreciation for building relationships with all the players and staff.”
The USPNT recently competed at the 2017 World Championships, defeating Ireland in the final minute to capture fifth place in the tournament. The team is currently rated fourth in the World Rankings and will look to build on momentum entering the Copa America tournament.
“Having Mike in camp was great and it was evident that he was able to both adapt his sessions and push the players to work at their optimum levels,” Sharp said. “I would really like to thank Mike, and Long Island University for allowing him to be available, for supporting the USPNT and having such a positive impact upon the players.”
For Mordocco, the experience was one he had trouble putting into words, saying it was “indescribable”
“The USPNT was one of the great coaching experiences of my career,” he said. “They are really into their football. Their intense passion for the game and their love to compete was admirable.”
Mordocco added that he hopes to have the opportunity to return to the USPNT camp and competition during the NCAA offseason to assist with the development of the program.