HappyFeet Team Members
Donald Dione, Owner and Director
- (860) 328-1106
- (860) 328-1106
Don is native to south central CT being born in New Haven and growing up in Clinton. Both of Don’s parents were teachers and instilled in him a love of education. Don earned his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and managed a cardiovascular research laboratory at Yale University, School of Medicine for over 17 years. Recently, Don earned his Master’s degree in Sports Science, with an emphasis in coaching, from the United States Sport’s Academy.
Soccer has been a passion for Don for over 35 years. He started playing when he was 10 years old and continued playing competitively through college. After his playing days, Don turned to coaching as a way to give back to the sport he loves. He has coached at multiple levels including youth teams (ages 3-14), middle school teams, high school teams, and collegiate teams for over 15 years. Don currently coaches for South Central Premier and is part of the women team’s staff at Quinnipiac University.
Don lives in Deep River with his wife Donna, and their twins, Dakota and Donnie. He views HappyFeet as the perfect opportunity to combine all of his training, talents, and passions. He loves children (really he is just a big kid at heart anyway) and especially loves to help them learn. He believes that the game of soccer is a tremendous platform for children to learn and that it is one of the reasons why it is the “world’s sport”. Soccer is a player’s game; requiring constant decision making, overcoming of mental challenges, and physical exertion, all while trying to control a ball with one’s feet. Therefore, it is a great way to teach children so many critical life skills and to have them associate fitness with fun. HappyFeet goes one step beyond soccer by incorporating stories, songs, and games into the experience in a truly unique and age appropriate manner. Don believes every child will be happier, healthier, and more prepared for school after they have completed the HappyFeet program. Thus, he is tremendously excited to offer HappyFeet to south central CT.
United States Soccer Federation (USSF): National "C" License, National "D" License, Connecticut "E" License, Connecticut "F" License
National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA): Advanced National Diploma, National Diploma, High School Soccer Diploma, Special Topics - High School Soccer, State Diploma, Level 1 Goalkeeping Diploma
Master’s of Sports Science: Emphasis in Sport Coaching from United States Sports Academy, graduated with Highest Honors
Jason Soares, Owner and Assistant Director
- (203) 907-9655
- (203) 907-9655
Jason was born in Hartford and has spent nearly his entire life in the Nutmeg state. The second son of a nurse and an engineer, he grew up in Marlborough, where he attended RHAM high school. He moved on to Quinnipiac University in Hamden, where he played three years of baseball and earned a degree in Health Science Studies with a minor in psychology. After spending four years working in a cardiovascular lab at Yale University, where he met Don, Jason began coaching soccer and baseball at East Haven High School. The pleasure and satisfaction from this experience led to him earning his secondary teaching certificate from Southern Connecticut State University. Jason went on to teach science at East Haven for the next ten years, where he continued to coach soccer, baseball, and tennis for the Yellow Jackets.
Jason has been playing, watching, and coaching soccer for most of his life, starting at age 7. When he was growing up, his mother was a FIFA certified referee and instilled in him the love of the game that still burns inside him. These days, you can find him watching soccer just about every weekend between August and May; whether it’s his beloved Liverpool FC, or any other club from around the world. He has shared his enthusiasm for the sport by coaching at various levels over the last decade, including youth travel teams (ages 10-12), middle school teams, and high school teams.
Jason currently lives in Wallingford with his two hound dogs, Monty and Sookie. He is excited to be a part of HappyFeet, as it combines his love of sports, learning, music, storytelling, and teaching children. A youthful soul, Jason has a tendency to play make-believe and romp around the yard with his friends’ children (after all, he is an even bigger kid than Don), whenever the families get together. He sees the opportunity to introduce young children to a wonderful sport like soccer, while stimulating their minds and spirits, as a way to impact kids in a positive, meaningful way. Through HappyFeet, Jason believes that children can build self-confidence, improve their social skills, and increase their coordination all while having GREAT FUN!!! These early experiences that HappyFeet provides will help later on by preparing the kids for school, engaging their imaginations, and teaching them to love and take pride in being healthy.
United States Soccer Federation (USSF): Connecticut "E" License