HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - After several years at the top of the NJIC Meadowlands Division, Hasbrouck Heights enters the 2020 season in a rebuilding phase. Head coach William Thorne stepped down in May as the head coach, replaced by former Harrison assistant coach Pedro Martinez
Additionally, nine seniors have graduated, (and 61 of the team’s 80 goals) so the team that takes the field for the Aviators will be quite different from a year ago. Martinez brings a different style in his coaching, so those who do return will have to adjust to that as well.
Time that would have normally been available to install the new style of play in practices and scrimmages was limited by the restrictions caused by the Coronavirus. In 2020, that is something that everyone has to deal with.
Additionally, the Meadowlands Division has been put on hold for a year, as the New Jersey Interscholastic Conference restructured its divisions to cut down on travel. Now referred to as Division 2, the Aviators will be battling Wood-Ridge, St. Mary (Rutherford), Becton and Weehawken for a Division title.
Longtime division-rival Wallington is out, while Harrison, Butler and Hawthorne are out-of-division matchups. Harrison, a traditionally strong soccer school, lost in the Group 2 North final a season ago to Ridge High School, and will provide a good benchmark for the Aviators.
Martinez was optimistic about the upcoming season, although noted, “the change is tough. But I have a good group of kids, and they are working really hard to adapt to the new system. They have been very upbeat about bringing the new style of play.
Goalkeeper: Senior Bayron Ramirez and freshman Stuart Estrada have battled all through the pre-season for the starting goalkeeper job. The senior, Ramirez, will start, but will have to perform to hold off the freshman, who will start the year as the team's JV goalkeeper.
“Stuart has given Bayron a good battle for the job,” Martinez stated. “I think it is good for the program in general that we have a young goalkeeper vying to be the starting goalkeeper. "It will push Bayron to continue to improve throughout the year, and it will position us well for the future.”
Defense: Ivan Hernandez (0 goals, 1 assist) and Adnan Hoti will start at the outside spots, while Renato Mani (2 goals, four assists) and Ethan Ortiz will start in the center. The group is experienced, as Hoti, Mani, and Ortiz are seniors, while Hernandez is a junior, and all return from last year’s squad. Junior Gabriel Lopez will be the first off the bench for the group, as he has played well so far in pre-season.
Depth will come from senior Cristos Manis, junior Paul Kouletas, and sophomore Oliver Fermin.
Midfield: Sophomore Esdras Estrada and junior Jorge David Caceres (4 goals, 2 assists) will start in the center of the midfield for the Aviators, with senior Alessandro Ciminata (0 goals, 2 assists) and sophomore Juan Ruiz Castro will start at the outside midfield spots. Caceres was named the team captain.
Seniors Jonathan Hauptman, George Soliman, sophomores Luke Jimenez, Derek Potes, and freshmen Nick Tsiagaras and Joshua Vallenica will provide the Aviators options in the midfield.
Forwards: Senior Tommy Capozzi and junior Elton Mani are the starters, with holdover senior Rafael Mendoza and junior Rishi Tailor also pushing for playing time. Mendoza had five goals a season ago, to lead the returners in goals scored, while Mani scored four goals and added two assists. Capozzi had a goal and three assists in 2019.
Additional depth will come from seniors Gavin Kennedy and Michael Squiciari, sophomore Herman Oats, and freshman John Jaramillo.
|Thursday, Oct 1, 2020||4:00PM||Becton||Hasbrouck Heights High School|
|Monday, Oct 5, 2020||4:00PM||New Milford||Hasbrouck Heights High School|
|Wednesday, Oct 7, 2020||4:00PM||Saint Mary's||Rutherford Memorial Park|
|Monday, Oct 12, 2020||4:30PM||Weehawken||Hasbrouck Heights High School|
|Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020||4:00PM||Wood-Ridge||Wood-Ridge High School|
|Monday, Oct 19, 2020||4:00PM||Becton||Becton High School: Riggins Field|
|Thursday, Oct 22, 2020||4:00PM||Bogota||Hasbrouck Heights High School|
|Monday, Oct 26, 2020||7:00PM||Saint Mary's||Hasbrouck Heights|
|Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020||4:00PM||Weehawken||Weehawken Waterfront Park|
|Monday, Nov 2, 2020||4:00PM||Wood-Ridge||Hasbrouck Heights High School|
|Thursday, Nov 5, 2020||2:00PM||Butler||Butler High School|
|Monday, Nov 9, 2020||4:00PM||Harrison||Harrison High School|
|Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020||4:00PM||Hawthorne||Hawthorne High School|
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