For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan Duggan
Pontiac, MI (May 14, 2013)- The Michigan Bucks have announced today that former assistant coach Demir Muftari will take over the head coaching position for the Bucks effective tonight, when the Bucks host the Dearborn Stars in the first round match up of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac (7:30 PM kickoff). Muftari succeeds Bucks director of coaching, Gary Parsons who has decided to step down from the role as the two time defending Premier Development League (PDL) Coach of the Year. The coaching staff has been in overtime mode trying to select a team of 18 from over 60 players who started in Bucks training camp just one week ago.
The coaching move is not a surprise move to Bucks management, as this idea has been talked about for over a year. "Demir has served me well as an assistant coach here at the Bucks for the past several years. We believe he is one of the most talented up and coming coaches at this level and has made it clear to us that he would like to further expand his resume in search of a top coaching opportunity somewhere in the game here in America." explained Parsons. "I have had over 30 years of high level coaching experience with Oakland University, ODP and the Michigan Bucks. We feel the time is right for Demir to get his opportunity. The Michigan Bucks have long set the standard in not only helping players get to the next level, but coaches as well. Our entire team and staff are following his lead to repeat this season as PDL regular season champions and hope to have even more success in the Open Cup and the PDL playoffs than we had last year."
Bucks CEO Dan Duggan is equally excited about Demir leading the PDL's most successful franchise onto the field this season. "I have an enormous amount of respect for Demir's knowledge and passion for the game. The quality that really excites me is how the players respond to him. He is probably one of the best motivators and communicators of young developing players at the academy and college age, which is the makeup of the majority of the Bucks roster. The pros on our team can relate to him as well and understand the importance of their role on the team. He has some big shoes to fill with the success that Gary has had the past two seasons, but as Parsons would tell you- Demir had a lot to do with this team's success the past two seasons and is partly responsible for the two Coach of the Year honors that were bestowed upon the Bucks the in 2011 and 2012."
In addition to his leading role with the Bucks, Muftari is also the head coach of the U18 Vardar Academy team and is an assistant coach at Oakland University under former Bucks player Eric Pogue.
The Bucks coaching staff, which includes Parsons, Andy Wagstaff, Dan Fitzgerald, Mark Zathey, Scott Duhl and Eric Rudland have had an intense week sorting out the look of Tuesday night's Open Cup roster. While the final selections will be a work in progress over the next two weeks, the coaches have agreed on a mix of Bucks former players and several new faces that will be unfamiliar to Bucks fans. Returning to the roster are long time Bucks leaders, Tom Catalano, Seb Harris, Stew Givens, the PDL's all-time leading scorer in Kenny Uzoigwe, Kevin Cope (MSU) and the current PDL goalkeeper of the year Adam Grinwis (University of Michigan). Also returning from last season are Joey Dillon (Georgetown), Zach Steinberger (Butler) and Ryan Keener (MSU).
While several of the top colleges and universities are represented this season, the balance of the roster will look like a United Nations summit meeting. Joining the group that led the Bucks into the fourth round of the US Open Cup, including the huge upset of MLS's Chicago Fire are a list of talented professionals and college players from the US, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Jamaica, Nigeria, Cameroon and Bosnia.
Tickets for tonight's first round US Open Cup match up are available at the gate and are $10 Adults and $7 Youth (16 and under). Children 5 and under are always free to Bucks games. Ultimate Soccer Arenas is located at 867 South Blvd. Pontiac, MI 48341 and has been the home of the Michigan Bucks since the 2008 season. For more information on the Bucks, please visit our web site at www.buckssoccer.com or call the Bucks office at 248-334-7460.