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DLN ALL-AREA: Zimmerman has turned Conestoga into Pennsylvania’s premier program

TREDYFFRIN >> With three state titles in the last seven years, including back-to-back crowns in 2016 and 2017, Conestoga has become the premier 4A boys’ soccer program in Pennsylvania. And head coach Dave Zimmerman is at the center of it all.

Needless to say, picking this season’s Daily Local News Coach of the Year was a no-brainer.

“Dave will outwork you,” says Conestoga Athletic Director Kevin Pechin said. “He is very calm, almost flat-lined. He doesn’t get too high or too low. As a result, his teams are very poised.”

The Pioneers are a combined 50-1-1 since 2016, and ’Stoga finished this season ranked third nationally by Top Drawer Soccer.

“The last two seasons, we’ve been nationally ranked, and the expectations were steep,” Zimmerman said. “When the only result that people will be happy with is winning a state title, it’s a credit to the players that they didn’t struggle with that.

“Most teams, at all levels and all sports, struggle with winning the next year. It does something to you, it saps your motivation. Once you’re on the top, you don’t work quite as hard and that target on your back is bigger.”

The Pioneers termed their quest for back-to-back titles the ‘white whale.’ But as it turned out, Conestoga did not drop a single match along the way. Zimmerman, and his veteran coaching staff, has nurtured a culture of excellence that is unmatched right now in the state.

“Once you kind of get that going, it kind of perpetuates itself,” Zimmerman explained.

A history and psychology teacher at Conestoga, Zimmerman has been the head coach for 16 years. His teams have a 162-20-12 record, have won seven Central League championships since 2010, and the program has made six PIAA quarterfinal appearances during that same span.

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