New Catty soccer coach named
Over the past few years, Randy Gillespie has been busy.
He served as an assistant coach for both the boys' and girls' soccer teams as well as the head boys' basketball coach at Lehigh Valley Christian School. Gillespie also coached a girls traveling soccer team in the Catasauqua Youth Association.
However, his fast-paced athletic schedule recently dropped a gear.
Gillespie has been named the head girls' soccer coach at Catasauqua High School, replacing veteran Trajano Bastidas who recently resigned.
A 1986 Roughie graduate, Gillespie adjusted his commute by a few blocks and welcomed the opportunity.
Taking over a team that posted an 0-18 record last season, Gillespie realizes his influence on the program won't happen overnight.
"This will take some time," he said. "But I had a great meeting with the girls who seem to have a lot of energy and seem excited. The three future seniors have the same feeling and are ready to take the program in a new direction. Everyone will have to get used to a new system.
"But you simply can't replace a guy like Trajano (Bastidas). He is the Joe Paterno of soccer in this area."
Gillespie credits his soccer upbringing to his work with the late Frank Olszewski, who often is credited with instituting the beginning of soccer youth programs in the Catasauqua area. He also credits the teaching of Alex Sackey, a longtime soccer coach at Lehigh Valley Christian.
"He (Olszewski) is the pioneer of soccer in Catasauqua," said Gillespie. "I really learned a lot while working under and with him. He really helped develop the leagues and knew how to teach the basics.
"(Sackey) showed me how you can have a small team and get the most of it. His teams were true teams that had great chemistry.
Hopefully following in the footsteps of Catty soccer legends, Gillespie is looking to begin with the roots of the program. Gillespie is also optimistic he can connect with his new players as he coached several of them in youth programs.
"The girls who are coming back have a lot of potential," he said. "There are also a number of girls who are in fifth, sixth, and seventh grade who should be able to help the program. I want to be able to link everything together.
"There are a number of girls who know me and I know what they can do through coaching them when they were young. It should help make a good connection for us."
Catasauqua athletic director Dave Troxell is pleased to have Gillespie on board.
"Randy is a Catasauqua graduate who knows that hard work will lead to success on the field," noted Troxell. "He has a diverse background from playing to coaching soccer and training players through the years.
"He has excellent enthusiasm, soccer knowledge, and coaching experience in which he will bring to the program. Randy is anxious to start coaching the girls, and I am excited for him to lead the Rough Riders."
Gillespie also has the blessing of wife Casey and daughter Katelin, who is a sophomore and soccer player at Northampton. He hoped to coach his daughter, but the family lives in the Northampton mailing address.
He plans to begin team activities after the end of the spring sports season and also have the team play during the summer.
"We'll do some conditioning and also some team bonding," he said. "I really want to work on a team concept. I was born and grew up in Catty. I know the systems and the highs and lows. I know we can get the program back to where it was."