ORONO – When former Orono athletic director Joe Paul hired a girls’ soccer coach in 1982, he had no idea the school would be set for the next 30 years or so.
But that’s exactly what happened when he gave the job to Cid Dyjak.
Thirty-one years and some 280 wins after he was hired, Cid Dyjak coached the Red Riots to another victory this week, 2-1 over Old Town.
The victory put his team (10-0-1) in first place in the Eastern Class C Heal point standings.
“What makes my heart smile most is that girls’ and women’s soccer have made their mark in this country,” said Dyjak. “I’ve been happy to be along for the ride to see the respect and recognition that the sport has gotten.”
Keep in mind that the Maine Principals’ Association introduced girls’ soccer as a varsity sport in 1980 with one class. Class B was added in 1982, then eventually Classes C and D. That makes Dyjak a member of the ground floor club of high school soccer in Maine.
“I remember some of those first practices. Enthusiastic players. Not as much skill as today. I speak a totally different level when I talk tactics and techniques today.”
Elea Kass and Hanna Renedo, two seniors on this year’s team, say when their coach talks, it’s almost always with a laid-back style.
“He’s really chill,” said Kass. “He keeps things fun, he keeps things light. He’s the greatest.”
“That’s the special thing about him,” said Renedo. “His teaching is trust and have confidence. He doesn’t stand on the sidelines yelling at us.”
Dyjak chuckled about how some perceive his style. “They want to check my pulse sometimes to see if I’m living.”
His athletic director for the last 13 years, Mike Archer, put it this way.
“Spend five minutes with him and you can tell how much he loves the game,” said Archer. “I never worry about him. He’s probably the most ethical person I know.”
One topic Dyjak doesn’t talk to today’s players about much is some of his favorite players of the past, such as Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia or Zico. He said that’s ancient history to kids, but he does appreciate how kids and their parents understand the game much more today.
“They understand it’s not just a game you can pick up quickly,” Dyjak said. “It’s a game you have to work at.”
While his teams have had lean years, the Red Riots have played in the last five Eastern Class C championship games, winning twice. But the fact that girls’ soccer has become the skill game it is today excites him most of all.
And keeps him coaching.
“I don’t know if I could stop,” he said. “Like anything, you want to do what you love for as long as you can.”
FOOTBALL: The Bucksport roster lists 5-foot-7, 160-pound senior Josh Gray as DB, K, ATH (athlete). He was all of that in Friday night’s 55-0 victory over John Bapst.
Gray had four catches for 75 yards and three touchdowns (40, 26 and 4 yards), a 58-yard scoring run, seven extra points kicked and an interception. Bucksport is 6-0 in Eastern Class D.