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Boys soccer: Cebula Sterling's new boys soccer coach

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(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Sterling's Peter DeLafuente dives for the soccer ball during the first day of practice for fall sports in Illinois on Wednesday.

Sterling Athletic Director Greg King recognizes a no-brainer when he sees it.

When Chris Interone resigned as Sterling boys soccer coach in early July, King wanted to make sure that the next coach kept the Golden Warriors' arrow pointed up.

Who better to do that than someone that had been by Interone's side for the last four seasons? Someone like Brian Cebula.

Cebula, 28, was approved by the Sterling School Board on Wednesday to succeed Interone, who had a 96-48-6 record in six seasons.

"It really was the perfect situation," King said. "With Chris leaving when he did, we knew we had to act fast. Brian has been great with the girls program, and he's someone that the boys know very well. It'll make that transition so much smoother."

Cebula, who teaches health at Challand Middle School, has been with the district for 5 years. He has been the head coach for the girls team for the last 4 years and an assistant for the boys program.

"I've learned a lot over the last few years watching Chris coach this team," Cebula said. "With the Sterling United program [Sterling's youth program] really teaching players, we aren't getting such raw kids anymore. Once they get to high school, they understand the game, and we can start installing tactical plays."

Sterling went from seven wins in Interone's first season in 2007 to winning a school-record 23 in 2011. They have also won two regional championships (2010, 2011). The Warriors went 19-3 last season, but were upset by Rochelle in the opening match of the regional.

"I don't think there's that much different that I need to do other than just keep it going in the direction we have been going," Cebula said. "It's a matter of experience. We went to a couple regional final matches before we won. Then we went to sectionals and not even Chris or I knew what to expect there. It's all about learning."

One thing that King and Cebula realize is that the expectations have changed. The soccer program started at the beginning of the last decade and struggled for several years before turning around.

With the growth of youth soccer programs in the area and the improvement of the varsity program, players enter high school expecting to win.

"It's an attitude that young players pick up on," Cebula said. "They see the older players having success and they want to do the same when they get the chance."

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