2017 Wood-Ridge Boys' Soccer Preview

Jason Lopez goes around an opponent Credits: Courtesy Wood-Ridge Soccer
Jason Lopez advances the ball up the field. Credits: Courtesy Wood-Ridge Soccer
Mike Schmidig kicks the ball. Credits: Courtesy Wood-Ridge Soccer
Pre-game team huddle.
Jason Lopez passes towards teammate Josh Laza. Credits: Courtesy Wood-Ridge Soccer
Brian Argueta with the save.
Wood-Ridge coach Alberico De Pierro. Credits: Courtesy Wood-Ridge Soccer

WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - You might say that the Wood-Ridge High School Boys soccer team is going to experience some growing pains this year. That does not necessarily mean that the fourth year program is taking a step back.  

Coach Alberico De Pierro’s team finished 9-9-1 a year ago, good enough for fourth place in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season, after losing nine seniors from the 2015 team.  And while DePierro still has not settled on all his starters for 2017 a week before their season opener against Wallington, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

“We have more talent in the program now than we ever have,” the fifth year coach said.  “Last year, I could tell you who my starters were a week before the season started because they were clearly the best kids.  Now, we have competition for several spots.”

Sign Up for E-News

That competition comes from growth within the program.   

“With 38 kids on the roster, this is the most we have ever had,” he continued.  “This is the first time we have had enough people in the program for a full varsity and a full JV roster.”

And while he admits this is a second “rebuilding” year, DePierro also believes that a while they could struggle, there is potential to be one of the best teams in the division.’

“We are asking a lot of players to step up and take over starting jobs, “ DiPierro said. “Kids who played last year in either a reserve role or JV need to play a bigger role this season." 

Goalkeeper:  Second Team All NJIC Meadowland Division goalie Brian Argueta returns and will handle the bulk of the playing time.  He will be backed up by sophomore Phillip Iocavelli.   Argueta provides an experienced hand at the back-end, having seen time in each of the previous three seasons before taking over as a starter last year.  .

“Brian is a real good goaltender.”  DePierro.  “We are confident are solid in net.”

Defender: DePierro can’t say enough positive things about senior captain, centerback Daniel Crygan.  A second-team All-NJIC Meadowlands pick a year ago, Crygan had never played soccer before joining the program four years ago.  

“To go from a kid who had never played a competitive game of soccer in his life to being one of the best players on the team shows the hard work and dedication he has put in.” DePierro said. "He is truly a great kid to have.”

He will be joined by senior vice-captain Sergio Agreda at a center back as the other established back in the middle.  

Midfielder:  Again, a pair of returning starters, and a pair of spots still up for grabs.  Junior Keith Gudanowski was honorable mention All-NJIC a year ago and will hold down one spot. Sophomore Erick Zapata, who started as a freshman a year ago, has another spot.   DiPierro still has two open spots, but one would think that senior Mike Schmidig, the other vice-captain, will see plenty of action.  

There are plenty of candidates for the other spot, and DiPierro will have the opportunity to rotate players based on who is playing well and game situation. 

Forward:  Josh Laza, a second team selection All-NJIC as a sophomore returns to the lead the forward line.  The other spot is up for grabs.

Most coaches would be panicked not knowing who will be filling all the open spots.  DePierro is not.  He believes that the open spots are there because the talent level has increased, and there are more players capable of being on the field.  Younger players, including two freshmen in Dillan Suelto and Marcus Benavides,  are challenging for playing time.

“We like to keep fresh legs on the field,” DiPierro said.  “Most games, at least 17 or 18 guys are going to see some playing time.  People will play their way into more playing time if they step up.”

Either way, the Blue Devils coach will find out quickly about his team, as Wood-Ridge hosts league powers Wallington and Hasbrouck Heights within the first week of the season.  

Date Time Opponent Location
09-08-17 4:00PM Wallington Wood-Ridge - Redneck Road (Moonachie)
09-12-17 4:00PM Saddle Brook Saddle Brook
09-14-17 4:00PM Hasbrouck Heights Wood-Ridge
09-16-17 10:00AM North Arlington North Arlington
09-18-17 7:00PM Becton Wood-Ridge HS
09-20-17 4:00PM Paterson Charter Wood-Ridge - Redneck Road (Moonachie)
09-25-17 4:00PM Midland Park Midland Park
09-26-17 4:00PM Saint Mary's Saint Mary's- Rutherford
10-02-17 4:00PM Weehawken Weehawken
10-04-17 4:00PM Wallington Wallington
10-06-17 7:00PM Saddle Brook Wood-Ridge HS
10-10-17 4:00PM Hasbrouck Heights Hasbrouck Heights
10-11-17 4:00PM McNair Academic Wood-Ridge
10-16-17 4:00PM Becton Becton
10-18-17 4:00PM Paterson Charter Paterson Charter
10-20-17 4:00PM Saint Mary's Wood-Ridge
10-23-17 4:00PM North Arlington Wood-Ridge - Redneck Road (Moonachie)
10-26-17 7:00PM Weehawken Wood-Ridge HS

TAPinto Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro is Hasbrouck Heights, Wood-Ridge and Teterboro’s free daily news source.

Subscribe for free daily eNews delivered to your inbox.  Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.  (@HHeightsWRidgeT)  Live on your phone?  Then download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

Want to let us know what you think? Send a Letter to the Editor

We are never more than a click away.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 28, 8:00 PM

Hasbrouck Heights Senior Center, Hasbrouck Heights

Hasbrouck Heights Jr Football League General ...



Sat, March 3, 6:00 PM

Wood-Ridge High School, Wood-Ridge


Sat, April 28, 8:00 AM

College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown

Conference and Resource Fair Promotes Advocacy ...


For All The Dollars: The Great Silence, dir. Sergio Corbucci

        Also directed by Sergio Corbucci, The Great Silence is considered his greatest achievement. While Sergio Leone portrayed the Old West as a gritty place filled with morally ambivalent figures, Corbucci's Old West was a darker dog-eat-dog world.


Once again, spaghetti westerns were known for taking the myth out of the romantic west. The next spaghetti ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Hackensack Resident Charged with Sexual Assualt and Child Endangerment at YMCA

February 23, 2018

(Updated 8:15 pm)  

HACKENSACK, NJ - Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of Timothy Smith of Hackensack on six counts each of Sexual Assault by Contact and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti, and the Hackensack ...

New Brewery Approved by Hackensack Planning Board

HACKENSACK, NJ -- The Hackensack Planning Board approved the application of city resident Mike Jones at last Wednesday night’s meeting to open Hackensack Brewing Company in a Johnson Avenue warehouse.

This will be the second brewery to come to Hackensack, after The Alementary, which is around the corner on Voorhis Lane, and opened two years ago.

Jones hopes to have a ...

Bring back Hasbrouck Heights Municipal Alliance

February 15, 2018

Last night the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights banned the sale of marijuana within its borders. We had several residents speak on the topic with the overarching concern being less about the sale of legal marijuana and more about the need to do more to combat alcoholism and substance abuse in our community. 

As we have learned over the years many families have been touched by the disease of ...

Nutley Police Make Arrest In Instagram School Threat Case

February 24, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Police Department made an arrest in the case of an Instagram video post. An 18 year old resident was charged with Third Degree False Public Alarm.

Joseph Rafanello, a senior at Nutley High School, was arrested and taken to Essex County Jail.The arrest followed a full investigation by the police.  

Chief Thomas Strumolo stated that ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

SEASIDE HEIGHTS – On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the ...

NJ Governor Signs Executive Order to Fly Flags at Half-Staff to Recognize Parkland Florida Victims

TRENTON, NJ -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No.11 on Monday ordering the flag of the United States of America and the flag of the State of New Jersey to be flown at half-staff to recognize and mourn the passing of the victims in Parkland, Florida. 

The order is for all state offices, agencies and instrumentalities including schools for Tuesday February ...

Dave & Busters Plans Feb. 14 Grand Opening at Willowbrook Mall

WAYNE, NJ - Dave & Busters at Willowbrook Mall will have its grand opening celebration on Feb. 14. 

It will be the chain's 109th location and second in New Jersey. The Woodbridge location opened in November.

Doors will open at 11 a.m. to the public. From 4:30 to 7 p.m. happy hour will feature half price cocktails, $1 off 22 ounce drafts, ...