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Faculty Spotlight | PE Teacher and Coach Warren Salandy

Physical Ed Teacher and Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Reflects on 23 years at Friends

What brought you to Friends and how long have you worked here?

This is my 23rd year at Friends. A friend with whom I played soccer, Wayne Henry, worked at Friends in the PE department. Wayne was exploring an opportunity in Bermuda and needed someone to replace him. He recommended me and encouraged me to apply.

Many people in the community know you as the Head Coach of the Varsity Boys Soccer team, can you share some of the other roles and duties you have held in addition to coaching?

I coached Co-Ed Track from 1999 through 2006, Middle School Boys Basketball from 1999 through 2014, Middle School Girls Basketball for one year and Middle School Baseball. In addition to Varsity Boys Soccer, I’ve coached Varsity Golf since 2015. I appreciated building a formative track program. I encouraged soccer players to join the team because it would help with their training. The first year we had ten members and won the league. The Track program became really competitive. In our small school, our athletes should play three sports, they should play all seasons. I’m always glad to see students play multiple sports over the year.

In what ways have Quaker values and your experience at Friends influenced the work you do today?

Simplicity is one value that stands out for sure. When it comes to practice, we are continually improvising to make the most of limited resources. When I coached Track, the team did stair work, we didn’t need a lot of equipment or an actual track, but used what we could. We ended up with a lot of success.

Stewardship and service have also been values that have resonated with me. In 2016 and 2018 I took teams to Tobago for an extended preseason and service initiative where we donated cleats and other equipment through Kleats for Kids, which was founded by one of our players, Will Cohen ’08. We also ran soccer clinics. My former high school ended up implementing this service project into their curriculum, expanding the work to include cleaning of fields and beaches. It felt good that they saw the value of service that we initiated. The first trip we only took boys, but for the second trip we took both boys and girls teams. It is a very valuable experience for the students. In the annual alumni soccer game, former players talk about this trip all the time.

How do you understand the work you do now as “bringing about a world that ought to be?”

From the Athletics side it's not all about teaching skills. We teach life lessons through sports. Teamwork, resilience, handling success as well as failure, showing respect for opponents and teammates, playing with integrity and practicing humility. In many ways it is the way we want people to live in society. All of these things can be transferred into everyday life. Sports have a way that helps to bring about a world that ought to be.

Do you remember your first season as a coach at Friends, what was that experience like?

My first season at Friends, I was a rookie, not knowing the landscape of the high school game. I remember my first soccer camp. I had one senior, and I selected six freshmen who I thought were really skillful, although small. I picked six freshmen, small skillful guys whom I knew I could work with and develop as the core of my team. That first year we came in third and lost in the semi-finals of the tournament. I remember the freshmen players crying, and from that point on we were the dominant team in the league, winning both the regular season and the playoffs for three straight years. By the time the freshmen were seniors, the team finished with a record of 19-1-1 that season and the #2 seeded team at the State tournament.

Friends Varsity Soccer team has been one of the School’s most successful teams. Can you reflect on some of your fondest memories from past seasons, including any current or former players who standout?

Over my 23 years, we have had three dynasty teams which won the league three straight years, class of 2003, class of 2008 and class of 2017. Those teams were dominant with great players. Lexton Moy ’03 went on to play professionally in Hong Kong for four years and represented the Philippines National Team. Oliver Miller-Farrell ’08 had a successful collegiate career at Oberlin College and has the School’s all-time assists record, and Rio Hope-Gund ’17 won an NCAA championship with Georgetown, got drafted by Orlando City in the MLS, and is currently playing in the USL with the DC United franchise. The 2016 team that won the treble was a special moment in Friends Seminary’s soccer history. Winning the League’s regular season and the playoff tournament were great accomplishments, but adding the State title to the list of hardware was epic, a crowning moment in the history of Friends athletics.

This year, the World Cup takes place in November, which is obviously a change from the norm as historically it has occurred in summer. What are your thoughts about this, and what do you think makes the World Cup so special?

The World Cup is a unique event; the world’s best all on a stage where everyone is watching. There is fandom, and soccer is the most popular sport in the world, everyone has to follow it. It is a little unusual that the World Cup is taking place in the winter. This has never been done before, so there are lots of disruptions, having to stop leagues, but that says something about the magnitude of this tournament. When you see Lower School students at Friends coming in with their team jerseys, it shows that soccer means a lot to people. In some places, the world literally stops—people just have to see it.

Trinidad, like Kenya, did not qualify this time around. Do you have any country or countries that you are cheering for?

I have always grown up supporting Brazil and Argentina; I appreciate their tika-taka style of play. In terms of support, I’ll be rooting for the USA. It would be great for American soccer to see these young boys do well and prove to the world that American soccer moving in the right direction and they are capable of competing with the best of them. Also, my cousin Shaq Moore is on the team, so I must support him and the team.

What are your hopes, dreams and plans for your work in the future?

I would love to see Friends continue to put value on athletics and to emphasize the importance sports play in students’ lives. It is an important piece to the student athletes that are here.

With the addition of Cat Guerriere as Co-Director of Athletics, Friends has increased its focus on sports for Middle and Upper School. An ad hoc committee is reviewing the position of Friends athletics in comparison to peer schools and identifying what additional resources will be needed. It is anticipated that the next capital campaign will seek to address these requirements.


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