Andrew Varisco, who has spent 10 years coaching soccer at the club level, has been named to replace Joe Johnson as the girls soccer coach at Bangor High School.
Johnson, who led the Rams to five Class A North championships and their first two state titles in 2011 and 2015, stepped down after 11 seasons to spend more time with his family and pursue other activities.
The Rams went 10-5-1 last season and lost to Camden Hills 2-0 in the Class A North semifinals. The powerhouse Windjammers, the three-time defending state champions, also beat Bangor in the previous two regional title games.
The 47-year-old Varisco said he is looking forward to the opportunity.
“Joe and [assistant] Mark Boulier have done a fantastic job with the program,” Varisco said. “They ran a classy program, and I would love to follow in their footsteps and continue their legacy.”
Varisco is originally from Oklahoma and his family wound up moving to Woodland where he played soccer for the Dragons.
He earned a degree in political science, with a minor in history, from the University of Maine and worked for Senator Olympia Snowe for 14 years.
He is an Ed Tech in the special education department at Bangor High School.
“He is very well-liked and well-respected in the soccer community,” Bangor High School Athletic Director Steve Vanidestine said. “Everyone we talked to said he knew a lot about soccer.”
Varisco is familiar with the players since he has coached many of them at the club level. His daughter, Bella, was a standout four-year player for the Rams and was an All-Class A North midfielder last fall.
She will play at Castleton University in Vermont this fall.
Varisco said he will run a technical program.
“We will really want to be able to possess the ball and control the flow of play,” Varisco said. “I’m very passionate about the game, and I love working with kids and watching them grow as players and as people.”
Bangor graduates seven players off last year’s team but will return 19 players including All-State junior back Isabel Parkin.
Varisco will team with assistant coach Dave McMahon to run the Rams’ summer program.
“We will have a lot of talented young ladies on our team,” Varisco said.
He noted that club programs like the Bangor Soccer Club and Seacoast United have done an excellent job serving as a feeder system for Bangor High School.
Varisco and wife Christine also have a son, Noah, who is a freshman at Bangor High and plays soccer.