Axel Ortiz in tennis, Andrés Mirabelli in soccer, and Wilhelmus Caanen in basketball.
By Liz Yanira Del Valle
Note: Second article in the series: “Coming back home: Sagrado,” about the new academic year 2021-2022.
A new academic year 2021-2022 begins in Sagrado, and so do three new sports coaches, all with careers that showcase excellence and a desire to train their teams.
Axel Ortiz Díaz will lead both the women’s and men’s tennis team. He has 15 years of experience and currently trains high performance athletes at the San Patricio Tennis Academy, a role he has held since his 20’s.
“I spent years training young people to obtain tennis sports scholarships. Now I enter another phase, coaching them. I am leaving my comfort zone to carry out a new challenge,” he said to inSagrado.
Ortiz Díaz hopes to be a great leader, not a boss.
“My goal is to create a friendly culture within the inescapable competitiveness of sports system. I want the teams to train and have -under my direction- four excellent years in their live. The goal is to win, of course, but that doesn’t take way from carrying out the job under a holistic concept. In Sagrado, they play good tennis, and we will keep going with lots of a familial warmth.”Axel Ortiz Díaz, Sagrado tennis coach
The soccer team also welcomes former player and renowned Argentinian coach Andrés Mirabelli.
“Technical direction is my thing. Let’s say that being a ‘coach’ is my soul. For me, it is a source of pride to lead a college team from such a prestigious institution as Sagrado. They’ve treated me so well. It’s a team that’s hungry for glory,” he said.
“The Intercollegiate Athletic League (LAI, Spanish acronym) is the most important tournament in Puerto Rico. I understand that we can have a very good result,” said the former sports director of the Puerto Rican Football Federation (FPF).
Since 2009, Mirabelli has trained several schools and clubs in Puerto Rico and, additionally, served as a field assistant for the U-20 National Team in 2011. Previously, he worked as a coach in Argentina and in the U.S. state of Florida.
Currently, Mirabelli is president, coach, and technical director of Mirabelli Soccer Academy. Rounding up the squad is Wilhelmus Caanen, coach of the men’s basketball team at Sagrado, as well as of the Ponce Lions in the Island’s National Superior Basketball league (BSN, Spanish acronym).
Welcome and Godspeed! Let’s start training, Dolphins. Sagrado believes that sports are an integral part of education.