Nuss brings experienced, talented staff to Ocean City to help the Nor'easters win a USL League Two championship
From left to right: Christos Economopoulos, Bill Rizzo, Courtney Dougherty, Matt Perrella, Jake Dowiak
Shortly before the launch of the 2019 USL League Two season, the Ocean City Nor’easters had to find a new head coach. Luckily for them, the club already had a qualified candidate on staff: Sporting director Kevin Nuss.
The Kevin Nuss era has begun and the Camden County College manager has assembled his coaching staff.
Assistant Coach: Christos Economopoulos
Economopoulos is entering his sixth year with the Nor’easters as an assistant coach, and his third year in charge of the club’s Under-20 and Under-23 teams.
During his six years working under head coach Tim Oswald (the club's all-time wins leader) and John Thompson, he has helped the club win 41 games as well as three wins in the US Open Cup, including an upset on the road against professional side Charlotte Independence of the USL Championship. The Nor'easters also won the 2016 Eastern Conference championship, and reached the national semifinals that year.
Economopoulos joined the Nor’easters technical staff for the 2013 season as a sports therapist to offer his expertise in the fields of strength and conditioning, sports massage, and player recovery to ensure that every player on the roster is able to perform at optimum level throughout the season. After earning a National Certificate in Exercise and Fitness from the University of Limerick in his home nation of Ireland, Christos has also earned a professional qualification in Massage and Sports Therapy as well as coaching badges from both UEFA and the Football Association of Ireland.
"Christos and I have worked together since 2013," said Nuss. "He knows me well, and knows what I'm thinking and what we need next. In addition, he is a huge asset to the club with his knowledge and experience on the physiological side."
Assistant Coach: Bill Rizzo
Rizzo is currently the assistant coach of the men’s soccer program at Camden County College, working alongside Kevin Nuss. He has the USC Advanced National Diploma, USSF “C” License, USSF National Youth License, and USC Director of Coaching Diploma. He currently serves as Director of High School Aged Boys for Mt. Laurel United as well as operates the training company South Jersey Soccer Services. He has a BA in Communications from Elizabethtown College (PA) and an MS in Sport Management from Neumann University (PA).
“With such a talented group of players to work with, I’m very much looking forward to playing my part in getting the squad prepared for the coming matches,” said Rizzo, a Runnemede NJ native. “Each opponent presents its own set of unique challenges and opportunities which we will take into account as we design and implement our strategies in training to be carried out come game day. The technical staff consists of astute soccer minds that are highly dedicated to putting in the work required to ready the boys. It’s truly an honor and pleasure to be on the staff of such a great organization.”
"Bill is a great addition to the staff," said Nuss. "He brings a very technical approach to our training and helps make sure we are getting the most out of sessions."
Assistant Coach (Goalkeepers): Matt Perrella
Perrella is currently the assistant coach of the women’s soccer program at Drexel University and brings professional playing experience to the Nor’easters coaching staff, specializing in goalkeeping. Perrella played his college ball at Rider University where he was a four-year starter and a three-year captain.
The North Brunswick, NJ native played professionally in both indoor (Harrisburg Heat, Syracuse Silver Knights) and outdoor soccer (Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Jacksonville Armada, Bethlehem Steel, North Carolina FC) during his playing career, that began in England back in 2014 where he played for the Newcastle United reserves team.
Perrella will hope to add to the tradition of elite level goalkeepers with the Nor’easters. Since 2010, the Nor’easters have had 11 former goalkeepers sign with professional teams.
"I am extremely pleased to join an organization with a rich history like the Nor'easters,” said Perrella, who has also coached players internationally in Zimbabwe with the Matabeleland F. A, a member of ConIFA. “This club demands a high level of player and character on the field. I hope to add to the culture off the field as well and help some of our players advance to the professional level. We believe we have a group that can compete in every match, fight for each other for 90-plus minutes, and with that mentality, hopefully win a lot of games."
Last year, Perrella suited up for Atlantic City FC in the National Premier Soccer League and was named the 2018 Keystone Conference goalkeeper of the year.
"Matt brings a lot of experience to the staff," said Nuss. "He has been in various high-level training environments and is a great example for not only our goalkeepers but the entire team. We look forward to him growing in his role."
Performance Coach: Courtney Dougherty
Dougherty is entering her first season with the Ocean City Nor’easters. Her role as the team’s performance coach involves building team dynamics and enhancing individual players’ mental skills to improve the team’s overall performance on the field. Dougherty holds her Master’s degree in Clinical Health Psychology and her Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is currently a New Jersey Licensed Clinical Psychologist at NRS-Lifespan in the Neptune and Lakewood area. She is developing the Sports Psychology Program at NRS-LifeSpan emphasizing performance enhancement for individual athletes and teams, team building, and coping with injury.
“I am extremely honored and excited to be working with such a fantastic team, coaching staff, and organization this season,” said Dougherty. “I am going to be helping the Nor’easters out with the mental and psychological side of the game. I am hoping that by working with the team on the psychological aspects of the game, that I can not only give them a competitive edge against other teams in the league, but help to provide the individual players with essential skills needed to progress to the next level in their professional careers.”
Dougherty has both local playing and coaching experience as a native of Ocean City. Dougherty was a three year starter for Ocean City High School, a two-time CAL all-conference selection, and on the all-decade team for OCHS. Dougherty continued her playing career at Stockton University where she was a four-time NJAC all-conference selection who was voted NJAC Midfielder of the Year and NSCAA All-Mid Atlantic First Team in 2008. She started all 88 games in which she played and tallied 19 goals and 15 assists for 53 career points while sparking Stockton to four consecutive NCAA Tournament berths. Dougherty was inducted into the Stockton Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015. She also has amateur experience playing for the Atlantic City Diablos, South Jersey Banshees, and South Jersey United FC in the WPSL and W-League (USL). Dougherty is currently going into her 10th season as an assistant coach for the Stockton University Women’s Soccer team. She has helped the Ospreys to 123 wins during her coaching tenure to date. She is also involved with training and coaching local club teams in the South Jersey area and holds US Soccer coaching licenses.
"Courtney brings huge value providing great insight on the Sports Psychology side," said Nuss. "She is a great resource for the players and staff."
Team Analyst: Jake Dowiak
Dowiak joins the Nor’easters coaching staff for his first season as the team’s lead analyst. Dowiak played college soccer at Rutgers-Camden where he played under former Nor’easters head coach Tim Oswald. The Moorestown, NJ native has had exposure to the game at the highest levels and is excited to bring his analytical skills down to Ocean City this summer. Dowiak specializes in individual player development and plans to develop players in ways that not only improves their abilities, but makes them as effective as possible for the Nor'easters. He plans to use his vision for the game to add to Kevin Nuss’ coaching staff.
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Dowiak, who played college soccer at Rutgers-Camden. “This is a chance for me to demonstrate an understanding for how we feel we should approach the game tactically and being giving the freedom to express my love for this game onto the next generation of stars is a dream come true. I am looking forward to working closely with the massively talented pool of players we have brought in this year and am excited to join such an experienced coaching staff who is dedicated to the development of players and helping them advance to the professional level.”
"Jake has a very keen eye and brings a very analytical approach to the staff, providing match and player reports," said Nuss. "He is a valuable addition to our staff."