James Bell named Pittston Area boys soccer coach; Rick Branco tabbed as Wyoming Area coach

By Nick Wagner - nwagner@timesleader.com - Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com | January 26th, 2016 10:34 pm

YATESVILLE — Pittston Area graduate James Bell was appointed new head boys varsity soccer coach at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

The vote for Bell was unanimous. Former Pittston Area coach and now board member Patrick O’Boyle gave Bell his full endorsement following the meeting.

“I’m excited,” O’Boyle said. “To be honest, his resume is better than mine. The kid has all kinds of the experience and he’s the right age for the job.”

Bell graduated from Pittston Area in 2006 and most recently served as the Penn State Wilkes-Barre head soccer coach since 2013. At Pittston Area, he was a four-year letter winner in boys soccer. He spent his collegiate career playing for Penn State Worthington Scranton and Keystone College.

Bell has an extensive playing background. He was a member of the Pocono Snow Soccer Club team, based out of Stroudsburg, in the National Premier Soccer League.

In 2013, Bell helped found the Electric City Shock, a semi-professional soccer organization based out of Scranton. He started his soccer career playing for the Greater Pittston Stoners.

O’Boyle, who is currently a board member at Pittston Area, announced his resignation at December’s meeting. He decided to leave the field because of his election to the board. O’Boyle spent nine seasons at the Pittston Area helm.

“He’s a Pittston Area graduate and he’ll have the energy,” O’Boyle said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to push the program to where I couldn’t get it.”

Branco named Wyoming Area head coach

EXETER — Wyoming Area School Board members voted in Rick Branco as the new boys varsity soccer head coach at the monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Branco comes in after the previous soccer coach, Nick Hufford, stepped down at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

According to school board member Deanna Farrell, Branco had a resume in coaching soccer which made it an easy hire.

“He coached travel teams all over the world coaching soccer, including the United Kingdom,” she said. “He applied for the job and we were hesitant to hire him, but he had six letters of recommendation and we were determined that we weren’t going to hire him until we heard how much he’d done coaching soccer.”

In addition to traveling, Branco has been one of the top soccer trainers in the area. He graduated from Dallas in 2002 and left the Mountaineers as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 116 goals in just three seasons and was an All-State selection in 2001.

By Nick Wagner


Jimmy Fisher


Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick