MAHOPAC, N.Y. - With a new coach—bringing a new philosophy and system—the Mahopac boys soccer team is looking to take its game to the next level this fall season.
Head Coach Jamie Edwards takes over for James Carroll. Edwards spent nine years playing as a pro in England, and spent two years coaching with FC Barcelona. He spent four years coaching in the New York Red Bulls youth system, and for the last five years has run a pro club, coaching premier players and providing coaches to club teams.
With a combination of returning and new players, Edwards is confident he can bring the team—which went 8–8 and lost in the first round of playoffs last season—to another level.
“Things are looking very good so far,“ Edwards said. “We have some experienced players from last year, and some young, talented players.
“It’s an exciting challenge for me personally,” he added., “And as a team that lost in the first round, everyone wants to go further. Looking at this year‘s team, I am confident we can get further. We lost some key players, but this team is more balanced, we have players in most positions with experience,”
The Indians lost leading scorer and All-Section pick, Niko DeCola, and All-League picks, Austin Kenny and Pat McGrinder, to graduation.
Seniors Mendim Berisha, Joe Colatruglio and Brian Tenenpaguay are part of a returning group that bring experience to the team. Alex Velasquez, Tommy Cammarata, Karl Thimm, Chris Perrone, Nick Pawlizcko, Nick Biagini and Nick Doupis all return as well.
“All of them have experience, good technical ability and knowledge of the game that will help us,“ Edwards said.
Junior Marco Chousa, junior Bryce Sobieski, and senior Nicholas Valentin head a group of talented newcomers that Edwards believes can impact the team. “Marco is very good technically, he brings an attacking sense to his game. Bryce is a wildcard, he plays with no fear, and Nicholas is also a good technical player and attack minded. He’s very calm on the ball for a young player.”
Mahopac plays in League 1A with Carmel, John Jay of East Fishkill, Roy C. Ketcham and Arlington.
Edwards is confident the team will take a step forward.
“We have individual goals and team goals,” he said. “We’ll play each game as it comes. The long-term goal is to get further than last year, and if the team stays fit, the goal is to get to the finals. If we get there, I know we can win it. We know what our strengths are, and what we need to work on. I know for sure we’ll win more games than last year, and we’re aiming for that top one.”
Edwards said he’s also looking forward to his first shot at coaching a high school varsity team. “I am very excited about it,” Edwards said. “I’ve coached a lot of kids, a lot of premier athletes. This is a different ball game. But this is exciting, and I’m excited for this challenge.”
The Indians opened their season last night at the Yorktown tournament, where they were defeated on penalty kicks by Arlington B. Mahopac hosts Suffern tomorrow (Thursday) at 4:30 p.m. The Indians play Saturday in the Yorktown tournament at 11 a.m. against Yorktown.