Whitfield Celebrates Coach Cacciatore and the Girls Soccer Program

Whitfield Celebrates Coach Cacciatore and the Girls Soccer Program

On Friday, May 3, 2024 over 100 Whitfield soccer fans turned out to celebrate the contributions of Coach Jeff Cacciatore and the girls soccer program, now in its 27 year. Following a distinguished 34-year coaching and teaching career, Coach Jeff Cacciatore is retiring at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. The evening began with a varsity win over Orchard Farm before fans gathered back on campus for dinner and remarks.

Girls Soccer History 1997-2024

In 1989, Whitfield’s Head of School Mary Burke and Athletic Director Bill Daues identified Jeff Cacciatore as someone who would contribute well to the Whitfield community, both in and outside of the classroom, and approached Jeff about coming to Whitfield. After working one year at Chaminade, Jeff began teaching at Whitfield in the fall of 1990. While he coached a girls soccer team in 1990 and 1991, Whitfield didn’t have the players necessary to sustain the program, so it ended after the 1991 season. 

Then in the fall of 1996, sophomore Kelly (Gates) Smothers ‘99, and freshmen Abby (Baden) DePriest ‘00 and Lauren (Alberts) Blasek ‘00 approached Athletic Director Bill Daues to restart the program. Coach Daues knew he had a quality coach in Jeff Cacciatore, and the program began anew. The team played on Whitfield’s backfield and was an immediate success, winning MWAAII Championships in 1997, 1998, and 1999. Even with these successes, the program struggled to have a full junior varsity each year and sometimes began the season with fewer than eleven players on varsity. But there was always a squad. 

Whitfield Girls Soccer went on to earn District Championships in 2009, 2015, 2016, 2022, and 2023. The program captured a State Championship in 2022 and finished third in 2023. 

The program’s longest-running assistant coach was Luke Cano, who began in 2008  and retired in 2019. Past assistant coaches include Jonathan Davis, Margot McMahon Monser ‘00, and Chloe Colbert ‘09. Current assistant coach Rick Gamp started in the spring of 2019, and goalie coach Chris Sellers began working with the team in 2023.

Long before Whitfield, Jeff Cacciatore was a soccer success in his own right. He attended college at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIUE), playing on the men's soccer team from 1976 to 1979. In his last season, the team won the 1979 NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship. In the fall of 1979, Cacciatore signed with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League. He played two indoor and one outdoor season with the Strikers. He then moved to the St. Louis Steamers of the Major Indoor Soccer League in the fall of 1981. He played six seasons before retiring in 1987. 

On October 24, 2009, SIUE inducted Cacciatore into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame as an individual, and he was already in the Hall of Fame as a player on SIUE’s 1979 NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship team. Jeff was also elected into the Saint Louis Soccer Hall of Fame in 2013 and was named to Whitfield’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.

Thank you, Coach, and best of luck in retirement. Whitfield will miss you!

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Thank you to our generous sponsors for making this wonderful tribute possible:

Individual Sponsors

  • Elissa (Cady) Arnold ‘97
  • Candy and Flip ‘70 Cady 
  • Chris Cady ‘00
  • Laura (Cady) Guzewicz  ‘02
  • Margot (McMahon) ‘00 and Ed Monser

Business Sponsors 

  • Anthonino’s
  • Carnivore, Collina, El Milagro Azteca, Gastropit
  • LoRusso’s
  • Milo’s Tavern
  • Vitale’s Bakery

Supporters

  • Josh Amato
  • Joe Barbaglia
  • Lauren (Alberts) Blasek ‘00
  • Ashley Chod ‘00
  • John and Colleen Gates
  • Dana LaBarge
  • Lisa & Matt Long
  • Janet and Michael Micotto
  • Diane Migneco
  • Leslie and Rick Schmidt
  • Kelly (Gates) Smothers ‘99
  • The Rogan Family
  • Stephen Zeller

 

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