- WHERE DO I START?
- ABOUT DASC
- TOURNAMENT SERIES
If you ever get a chance to watch the University Of Sioux Falls Cougars Womens Soccer Team play, keep a look out for # 2, Kori Fink. If you are lucky enough to see Kori play, you might notice that she is wearing white tape with some writing on her left wrist. That writing says, "Danny Boy, #bingo."
You could be forgiven for thinking that she is referring to the famous old Irish Song, or a line from Chumbawumba's one hit wonder, "Tubthumping." In fact, this is a subtle tip of the hat to the late Dakota Alliance Coaching Legend, Daniel "Danny Boy" Ohayon.
For those who did not know Daniel Ohayon, he worked for Dakota Gold and Dakota Alliance in various positions for over 20 years. Daniel Ohayon was an integral part of the growth of soccer in both Sioux Falls and South Dakota. Daniel passed away in 2015 and was employed by DASC until the day he died. Daniel is memorialized in the name of our Spring Competitive Tournament, the Ohayon Invitational.
Kori Fink graduated from Harrisburg High School in May 2015. She had played for Dakota Alliance/Dakota Gold from a very young age. Her DASC team, which included the likes of Hannah Faris, (pictures with Kori Fink above), Kylie Lamberty, Molly Doetzel, and Haley Durland, was coached by Danny Boy during their Sophomore and Junior years. Danny Boy had a tremendous effect on this team.
In order to fully understand the influence that Danny Boy had on Kori and her teammates, one hard truth needs to first be stated. The 1996/97 girls team was, by their own admission, not the most talented team that Dakota Alliance ever produced. This meant that in their younger years, they did not enjoy some of the success that was experienced by other teams.
When Danny Boy took the team over, they were at a precipice. During the high school years, it is very easy for a team that has not had success to fall apart. Factors such as other sports, social lives and school work can force players to put soccer on the back burner. Danny Boy's no nonsense attitude and slightly gruff exterior was not immediately popular with the girls, but helped them focus. Anyone who knows Daniel knows that while he can come across as a little abrasive initially, when you get to know him, you see his more caring softer side. This came out fairly quickly with Kori's team.
The team loved the word "BINGO." They said it when they scored goals or as a rallying cry. For one event, the girls made pink bedazzled t-shirts that said "BINGO" on them. They made one for Danny Boy, thinking he would never wear it, but as a nice gesture. When he showed up to a game wearing their sparkly Bingo t-shirt, the girls thought it was the greatest thing ever.
This was the turnaround moment for the team and their relationship with Danny Boy. He showed his fun, vulnerable side, which the team appreciated, and they started playing for him, knowing he had their back.
Kori said the difference was that Daniel "got" the team. He understood they were not the best team at DASC, but that they loved playing and with the right support, would be successful. As the season went on in 2013, the 96/97 girls started to improve, getting more promising results. The team had a very tight bond, and that showed in the State Championship game. They came together to score a very late equalizer, which was met with a euphoric response at Yankton Trail. Unfortunately, after extra time, they suffered the heartbreak of elimination in a penalty shoot out.
This could have been the end for the team, but they pulled themselves together and went to Presidents Cup as the South Dakota representatives. In Kansas City, they embarked on an amazing and dramatic run, making it to the final and being crowned Presidents Cup Champions!! This was an astonishing achievement, achieved by a very tightly knit team and an awesome coach, who understood them.
Upon being asked to describe what Daniel Ohayon had done for her group, Kori Fink said, "It's hard to put into words the effect he had on the team"
For Kori personally, she said she found a connection with Danny Boy when she was having doubts about whether she was good enough to play college soccer, and where to play. She sat down and had a meeting with Daniel. Without exactly quoting Daniel, she said he gave her the confidence to just go for it, and that she was good enough to play soccer in college. That meeting inspired Kori Fink to commit to play for Nebraska Wesleyan University.
When asked about returning to Sioux Falls, and Dakota Alliance itself, Kori talks about how tight knit DASC is. She said it is where she found her best friends. She said it is, "more than just another club." and that it is "great to cheer on other DASC teams at events between your own games." She also commented on how amazing it is to see the clob growing so much even in the 4 years since she left. She loves to see it and is excited for the continued growth.
As the news broke about Daniel getting sick, the 96/97 girls were Freshmen in college. Kori was playing for Nebraska Wesleyan University. She started wearing "Believe" wrist band which had Daniel's signature on it as her way of showing support. When that wore down she started wearing tape on her wrist at every game, writing "Danny Boy" on the tape. Even since Daniel passed away, Kori has continued to wear the same wrist tape throughout her college career.
The 96/97 girls team are now 4 years out of high school, and are about to begin their senior years in college. A number of them play college soccer. The team still has a group message and comes together every Christmas for a gift exchange. Every time they get together, they seem to spend over an hour talking about Danny Boy. His passing helped to bring them together as much as his coaching did.
After 2 years at Nebraska Wesleyan, Kori Fink transferred to the University of Sioux Falls. She is majoring in Exercise Science, with a minor in Psychology and working at Dick's Sporting Goods. In her Junior year, Kori logged 866 minutes for the USF, starting 12 of 16 games. In the Fall, she will begin her senior year as a Cougar.
DASC is proud of Kori and her teammates for their achievements both at Dakota Alliance and after. They are truly a great example of why DASC is #morethanaclub.
For more stories about DASC being #morethanaclub please visit www.dakotaalliancesoccer.com/morethanaclubstories
Dakota Alliance Soccer Club
401 West 39th Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Mobile Phone: 605-332-5911