[YOUTH SOCCER]Dan Gaspar, who served as an assistant coach on Iran's 2014 World Cup team, is returning to his home state of Connecticut to serve as the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association's technical director. The CJSA also announced the hiring of Mario Prata as its full-time director of coaching.
Gaspar, a 2002 Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, was born in Hartford and attended Buckley High School. He attended the University of Hartford, where he later served as head men’s coach. During his coaching career, Gaspar is best known for his work as a goalkeeping coach with national teams or top club team programs in Iran, Portugal, South Africa and Japan. He also worked in Major League Soccer with the MetroStars under Carlos Queiroz, the head coach of Iran's World Cup team.
Prata, who spent his youth with Portuguese club Benfica, has worked the better part of the last two decades in coaching education and in various coaching roles in the Northeast. During his decade-long Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association tenure as a staff coach, Prata assisted with the development and updating of that state’s coaching courses and related curriculum. He also worked as youth development director for the New England Revolution.
“We are thrilled to make the announcement that both Mario and Dan are joining CJSA,” said CJSA President Kathy Zoladin a statement. “Mario is extremely well respected in our region and nationally and will help us reignite and enhance our coaching education program statewide. We also are very pleased that Dan has agreed to lend CJSA his expertise and unparalleled international experience when his busy international schedule allows. He will concentrate on developing special projects for CJSA that we feel strongly will benefit all of our members. With the addition of Mario and Dan, we look forward to providing coach education services for our members that range from licensing and training courses for new coaches at the recreation level, ongoing education and resources for experienced coaches and special topics and forums that will expose