29 Aug 2012
- Written by T&T Guardian
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Former Strike Squad midfielder Richard Chinapoo was named head coach of the Harrisburg Heat's on Thursday at Sports City Harrisburg.
The Heat club will play in the Professional Arena Soccer League, not the National Professional Soccer League or Major Indoor Soccer League that the T&T native starred in.
Chinapoo’s last pro coaching appearance came more than ten years ago — but that doesn’t mean the 55-year-old has dialed back the energy and lost his desire to mix it up as he says he is enthused about undertaking yet another sport-driven pursuit.
"I’m looking forward to putting a group together, getting back in the trenches, watching them sweat, getting the workouts going, being on the bench for games, being at the Farm Show and hearing the music," said Chinapoo, who spent four seasons behind the Heat bench (1998-2002) as head coach.
While parked behind the bench, Chinapoo piloted the Heat to a 71-97 record and two NPSL playoff appearances. His best season came in 2000-01, when Harrisburg (24-16) captured the American Conference He spent four seasons as the Harrisburg Heat's head coach (1998-2002) when that club called the NPSL or MISL home.
Beginning this fall, he'll lead a revitalized Heat franchise into the Professional Arena Soccer League. championship and Chinapoo was named the league’s coach of the year.
"His enthusiasm and dedication to a successful relaunch of the Heat, in addition to his tremendous reputation and experience, made him my choice," said Heat managing partner and general manager David Grimaldi. "I am excited that he’ll now be the new head coach of the Harrisburg Heat."
Chinapoo also played eight seasons at defender for the Heat, collaring all-star honours a handful of times while scoring 354 points (130 goals, 101 assists) and blocking 337 shots.
Since leaving the pro game, Chinapoo has served as technical director for suburban Harrisburg’s Capital Area Soccer Association. Since the PASL isn’t as demanding — only 16 regular-season games are called for, not 40 or 44 — he’ll continue to teach the game to youngsters. Some aspiring pros, too.
"It’s about balancing some veterans with some young, hungry players who want an opportunity to play," said Chinapoo, who entered the Heat hall of fame in 2001.
"There’s a ton of young, hungry players in this central Pennsylvania area who played, went to college, graduated and what are they doing? "They’re working and they go play men’s league somewhere. I kinda play against some of them." The Heat’s first game is tentatively scheduled for November 17.