SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Soccer has been a way of life for Spotswood High School varsity boys soccer player Nick Moran. The 16-year-old grew up around sports, but developed a fondness for soccer early on when he began playing for the Spotswood Soccer Club.
Moran is currently second in the state in goals with 15 and the striker’s goal production had a lot to do with the Chargers great start this season. The Chargers opened the 2015-16 boys soccer season with five straight victories. The junior had four goals and one assist in the Chargers first game against Piscataway. He would then go on to net a hat trick in the next outing against Highland Park before adding another four to his growing goal total in a match up with Carteret.
Last year’s season started a bit differently for Moran, who began the 2014-15 soccer season on the sidelines. Moran made the varsity soccer team as a freshman, but also played baseball. After deciding to concentrate solely on soccer following a season of junior varsity baseball for the Chargers, Moran tore his meniscus sliding into a base during a summer league baseball game.
The injury to his knee meant surgery and caused Moran to miss a large chunk of the varsity's soccer games.
“It did affect the season a bit,” Moran explained. “I had to get used to playing again and it took about two weeks to get back into the game. It was hard.”
After returning from the injury, Moran scored one goal and had one assist for the remainder of the season; a far cry from this year’s 15 goals and two assists in the first seven games.
Moran attributed this season’s amazing start to “a lot of hard work.” The teenager certainly spends a majority of his time on the soccer field. In addition to his play with the Chargers, Moran also pulls on a jersey for the East Brunswick Dynamo, which is a U17 travel team.
The Dynamo’s season doesn’t start until November to allow players to suit up for their high schools. A typical travel season runs from November through August against other New Jersey teams and generally includes at least one out of state tournament over the summer. Currently, the Dynamo are ranked number 28 in the state and 429th nationally.
Many other members of the Chargers varsity also play for various travel teams in the area. The group begins working together in August to begin to blend the all-important chemistry that often translates into a successful team on the field. Moran noted that this year's varsity has "great chemistry."
When asked about coaches who have influenced him throughout his soccer-playing years, Moran first mentioned Chargers coach Jeff Marvinny. Marvinny, a math teacher at Spotswood High School, has coached Moran for the past three years.
“Nick is very focused as a player,” Marvinny said via email. “He understands what the team needs from him and sets out everyday to achieve that. Nick only knows one speed…full speed. He gives 100 percent effort everyday whether it is a simple warm-up activity or a big game. He sets a great example in practice. He constantly communicates with his teammates and works as hard as he can.”
Marvinny explained that he wasn’t surprised by Moran’s strong start this season. “He is extremely hungry in front of the goal and I knew he had a killer instinct in the box. Last year’s leading scorer had 13, so to get 15 in the first five games is pretty impressive.”
Only once in his coaching career, has Marvinny had a player net more than 20. He feels that milestone is within Moran’s reach.
The team’s first loss of the season came against Bishop Ahr where Moran noted the Edison team “man-marked” him and kept him from “getting into a groove.” Rival South River shut the Chargers out in the following game.
As the Chargers look to get the team back into the win column against Middlesex this weekend, Moran talked about hopefully pursing soccer into college.
Since he’s a junior, he hasn’t set his sights on any schools yet, however he does plan on looking at the programs based on “education not soccer.” He is interested in pursuing a possible career where athletics remain a part such as physical therapy or possibly even being an athletic trainer himself someday.
Regardless of where his path takes him in life, it’s obvious that soccer will continue to be an important part.