A new coach for the Pawhuska High School girls soccer team was selected Monday night by the local board of education, which also scheduled a meeting next month to receive bids on two building projects involving school athletic programs.
Named as coach of the PHS Lady Huskies soccer squad was Giovani Soliano, a former professional "futball" player well known for his involvement in area youth leagues. He was one of two applicants who sought the vacant position, school officials said.
Board members set a special meeting for Nov. 14 at which bids are to be received for the much-anticipated athletic program projects.
One of the project bids is for a building that would be used as a weight training facility. Preliminary plans call for it to be constructed southeast of Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium, officials said. The other project involves long-awaited renovations to the girl’s locker room facilities at Oren Terrill Field House. Both projects are to be largely funded with grant monies received through the Osage Nation.
Soliano, a Pawhuska resident for the past decade, is originally from the Caribbean island of Bonaire (which is near Aruba and Curacao). He is the third coach in the short, but successful, history of PHS’s girls-only soccer program, which was started in 2011 and has already produced a playoff-qualifying team and three All-Staters.
Ray Ratzlaff served as the Pawhuska coach during an inaugural non-sanctioned campaign and also led the 2012 Lady Huskies through their first competitive season in which they won a play-in game to the Class 4A postseason. (The squad was eliminated, 2-1, by eventual state-semifinalist Catoosa.)
Last spring, Gary Hughes, the assistant for Ratzlaff, served as interim soccer coach for a Pawhuska team that came within a wind-blown kick or two of returning to the playoffs.