GREENVILLE – Marcel Matis, who has played and coached professional soccer, led a camp this week for the Greenville High School boys soccer program under the leadership of Green Wave varsity boys soccer coach, Mark Coppess.
“It’s nice to have Marcel back,” said Coppess. “He does really well with the kids – the kids like him. A lot of them have known him and have played club for him for a while.”
“I’ve been here for the last four or five years,” Matis stated. “I like it. I think the kids try to learn and we try to help them to get to that point.”
Matis, a Romanian native and former professional soccer player came to the USA in 2000. He has played for several teams since coming to the US including the Cincinnati River Hawks, Cincinnati Kings and the indoor Cincinnati Excite and Seventeen-Ninety.
“I did play soccer in Romania,” Matis said in his broken accent. “I moved here in 2000 playing soccer, trying to play for Cincinnati River Hawks, Cincinnati Kings. Played for the indoor team there too, Cincinnati Excite after that was Seventeen-Ninety. All my life I play soccer.”
“Everybody knows Marcel,” said Coppess, “plus, somebody with an accent always brings something to it. We have been friends for a long time, a lot of similar styles so we are trying to grow our program – so it’s good.”
Matis, a trainer for Matis Pro Soccer Training, is a former member of the U18 Romanian National Soccer Team. He played professionally for the Cincinnati EXCITE soccer team and was a professional player and assistant coach for the Cincinnati Riverhawks among other stops in his soccer career.
In recent years, Cincinnati’s interest in soccer has grown leading to the Queen City acquiring a MLS (Major League Soccer) team, FC Cincinnati, joining the Columbus Crew, Ohio’s first MLS soccer team.
With the addition of FC Cincinnati, Matis and Coppess believe it can only help spur soccer interest in the surrounding area, though a slow process.
“It’s not easy on this side of the country because they grow up with baseball, they grow up with football,” noted Matis. “It is very hard to put a soccer program on this side of the country but Mark (Coppess) is working hard and I believe he is going to do it.”
“Something has to help it – it’s slowly getting there,” Coppess said. “Our numbers are back up again this year a little bit. We should end up with a JV team this year, so that’s a good thing. Some upper classmen coming back that haven’t played for a while and then we have quite a few freshmen and a few transfers in this year, so it is slowly growing.”
“I came to this country 20 years ago and was not too much and now every park you watch, every park is full of kids playing soccer,” added Matis.
The Greenville boys soccer camp comes on the heels of the team traveling to Cedarville University for a soccer camp.
“We had a pretty good camp,” Coppess said of the Greenville camp. “We just got back from camp at Cedarville (University), so that went really well.”
“It’s been a rough summer for them,” noted Coppess of the team. “They have been putting a lot of time in already.”