by Tom Utescher
Before the old school year ended, Penn Charter took a significant step to advance its athletic agenda for 2013-2014 and beyond. On May 30 the school announced that Philadelphia native and former collegiate and professional soccer player Darci Borski has become an Associate Athletic Director for the Quakers, and will also be the new head coach of the girls’ varsity soccer team.
Borski is known in local scholastic sports circles from her six-season tenure at Germantown Academy, where she established herself as one of the most successful coaches in Girls Inter-Ac League history. Her four Inter-Ac champion teams were all undefeated in league play, and the 2008 squad was ranked 13th in the nation by ESPN and 21st by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Borski was named Coach of the Year by the Southeastern Pa. Soccer Coaches Association in 2007, and the following fall she was proclaimed High School Coach of the Year by the Southeastern Pa. Soccer Hall of Fame. Outside of the school season, she ran a number of soccer camps, as well as her own Darci Borski Soccer Academy.
Borski, who also taught in the Lower School at GA, left the Fort Washington School in the summer of 2011 to become a lead Kindergarten teacher at Franklin Towne Charter Elementary School, located near to where she grew up in Northeast Philadelphia. She continued to work with young soccer players in camps and clinics outside of school.
Her recent hiring at Penn Charter was the result of the efforts of a five-member search committee that cast a wide net and considered a number of high quality candidates.
The Quakers’ director of athletics and athletic planning, John Thiel, said that the committee was impressed by “Borski’s abundant and infectious energy as well as her coaching and teaching experience.”
He added, “Her leadership and knowledge will positively impact not only our female and male athletes, but our entire athletic program.”
The coaching job at Penn Charter opened up due to the departure of longtime soccer skipper Eddie Mensah, who has moved to North Carolina to become the new Head of Middle School at the Charlotte Preparatory School.
After that, Associate A.D. Channing Weymouth announced her departure. Weymouth was also the head coach for the Quakers’ field hockey and lacrosse teams, so there will be a turnover in those positions, as well.
With the Quakers’ 2012 soccer team, Mensah’s final season proved to be was one of his most successful, as Penn Charter placed a close second in the Inter-Ac, then went on to outperform all of their league peers in the Pa. Independent Schools Tournament, finishing as runner-up to champion Hill School.
Borski inherits a bunch of booters who not only have developed a winning mentality, but who also return eight starters and some key reserves from last year’s roster.
“It’s great to have such a strong group of players coming back, and I’m excited about the opportunity to keep that going and build a real soccer powerhouse at Penn Charter,” Borski said.
Commenting on her administrative role, she noted, “I’m so new that I’m still learning about the teams and the coaches, but obviously we’re looking to improve every team.”
Borski played high school soccer at Northeast Philadelphia’s Nazareth Academy, then a dominant force in the Catholic Academies League that includes Mount St. Joseph. A banner commemorating her 100th goal still hangs in the Pandas’ gymnasium, and she capped her scholastic career by earning the title of Pa. Gatorade Player of the year.
She went on to perform at the NCAA Division I level at the University of Virginia, earning All-ACC honors along with a degree in Religious Studies. Concluding her collegiate tenure in the 2002 season, she took her game to new heights as she proceeded to play professional soccer both in the U.S. (with the Philadelphia Charge) and in Norway.
Returning stateside, she began her six-year stint as Germantown Academy head coach in 2005. A Kindergarten teacher at the school, as well, Borski earned a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College.
After leaving GA to teach at Franklin Towne Charter, her soccer activities were restricted to off-season camps and clinics, and a part of her missed the high school coaching experience.
While piloting the Patriots’ program in the Girls Inter-Ac, she had gotten to know Eddie Mensah at Penn Charter. She spoke with him last fall at the annual PC-GA Day extravaganza and learned that he would be leaving PC for Charlotte Prep.
“Eddie is a great guy, and I was interested when he told me that the coaching spot would be opening up at Penn Charter,” the former UVA star said. “But with my teaching job, it would’ve been hard for me to do it. Later on, the associate athletic director job became available, and that would allow me to be at Penn Charter full time.”
She observed, “After going through the interview process, I came away with the feeling that I was going to have a lot of support here as a coach and as a member of the athletic administration. Everyone seems committed to making the sports programs the best they can be.”