By Aaron Tomich/NPSL.com
As the grapes are plentiful in the great wine region of California, so has been the scoring for Napa Valley 1839 FC so far in its 2022 campaign.
Following a resounding 6-0 victory over Oakland Stompers on May 1, Napa Valley 1839 FC continued its strong run of form to start off regular-season NPSL play in the Golden Gate Conference. Currently, its 4-2-0 record sets Napa Valley two spots from the top of the standings with 12 points to-date.
But, the team’s standing is not the only thing towards the top so far this season.
Napa Valley 1839 FC’s striker Dario Pavon currently ranks fifth in goals scored in NPSL with five, a mere two goals off the lead of seven. The Madrid, Spain native has started in five matches so far in 2022, averaging one goal per game. Pavon gave credit to his teammates and their tight-knit chemistry for the scoring success.
“My teammates are like family; we hang out with each other all the time,” said Pavon. “That connection is there, and because of that, we get a lot of [scoring] chances. If you are a good player and you get those chances around the goal, some way you’re going to score.”
The Spanish striker said he has strong confidence in his ability to be a “clinical finisher” when given those balls and scoring opportunities, which has been complemented by his move centrally.
“Dario has been a real threat in front of goal so far this season,” said Napa Valley head coach Mark Corbett. “His position has changed to play more central this year and that has definitely benefited him to be able to get more chances to score goals.”
As important as his scoring rate is to the success of the side, generally speaking, the bond the players, coaches, and front office staff have has created a winning culture that propels the team into victory. Beyond netting 13 goals to-date, Napa Valley has recorded three shutouts in six matches, while also fighting to win two one-goal matches with grit and determination.
Pavon said that he sees his role on the squad as one of some leadership. In every match, he said he tries to help by doing the little things and by using his leadership skills to make sure his teammates are all on the same page. Pavon credits, again, the bond he and his teammates have and knows that it created that fighting spirit and mentality going into every match.
Corbett echoed that sentiment and has seen the fruits of preseason labor prosper thus far. His side faced both the San Jose Earthquakes 2 (MLS Next Pro) and Monterey Bay FC (USL Championship) to prepare for the NPSL regular season.
“I am really pleased with the great start we have had,” said Corbett. “I think a lot of this start is thanks to the great preseason schedule we were able to have. Testing ourselves against professional teams raised the levels of the players and we have continued that into the season. We are hoping this form continues.”
When asked about goals for the team in 2022 and for himself, Pavon gave a most-expected answer: to first, win the Golden Gate Conference and make the playoffs, then win the West Region with the ultimate prize of a national championship trophy as the top priority.
“We want to win a championship, put Napa on the map, and give something to the community after all it has given to us,” said Pavon. “It’s been great so far. Lots of people come out and support the team and they’ve welcomed us all.”
Pavon’s gratitude for the Napa community is immense and it extends to his club’s ownership as well as the coaching and training staff. He said that he and his fellow teammates are all grateful for having the opportunity to play and compete in NPSL and for the chance to grow as players and people under the wings of the club’s leadership.
With strong bonds to each other and to the community, Pavon and his teammates, along with Corbett, look to continue the high-scoring, dominant success throughout the 2022 campaign.
“Although he [Dario] hasn’t been in Napa very long, he has very quickly become a fan favorite,”
said Corbett. “Let’s hope they all get out to hopefully see him add to his goal tally next weekend.”
Photo Credit: MG PRO/Miguel Garcia