Riverdale made program history in 2012 when it earned its first win ever in the TSSAA Boys Soccer State Tournament.
For his team’s achievements, Riverdale coach Ali Arman has been named The Daily News Journal’s 2012 Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.
“I think you’ve got to give the players a lot of credit,” Arman said. “They kept working hard and coming to training.”
Riverdale finished 14-3-3 in 2012. The Warriors were the District 7-AAA regular-season co-champions with Oakland, but defeated the Patriots in the 7-AAA championship game. The Warriors also won the Region 4-AAA title.
Riverdale went on an 11-0-2 streak after falling to Blackman in the regular season to reach the TSSAA Class AAA state semifinals before falling to eventual state champion Brentwood.
Arman said early on in the season the team was playing well, but couldn’t catch any breaks. But after a 2-1 loss to Blackman on April 3, everything began to fall into place.
“I felt like at the start of the season they weren’t playing that bad, but we just weren’t getting the results,” Arman said. “I told them to focus on the performance. I wanted them to make sure we were striving to perform well. That didn’t fluster the kids.”
Arman pointed to a 3-0 win at Farragut on April 12 to the turning point of the season.
“That showed them that we were a great team and could make a run,” he said.
But this team also faced adversity this season. Arman’s son, Josh, a four-year starting defender, broke his leg during a 2-2 tie at Brentwood on April 19. But the Warriors responded.
“They embraced it,” Ali Arman said. “They wanted to do well. Nobody made excuses.”