SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Normally, when team a looses 13 players to graduation, the outlook for the upcoming season isn't very optimistic. However, last year's Spotswood High School boys varsity soccer team's injury riddled season also allowed many younger players to gain some important experience on the playing field.
The Chargers finished the season 11-9 last year, losing key players Dylan Blado, Ed Kovalski, Andrew Picado, Zach Rodriguez, Robby Nason, Nick DiMaria and Jake Ryan to graduation. However, they return a core group of seven players that boast varsity experience including Nick Moran, Matteo Tavella, Andrew Oross, Colin Barlow, Nick Evanego, Ryan McCook and Dylan Whitfield.
Moran opened last season on fire, scoring 15 goals in his first seven games. A knee injury derailed his season. The senior will make a healthy return to the field this season to the forward position. Barlow missed the majority of last season as well. He too will make a healthy return to anchor the back line for his final season in a Charger uniform.
Jeff Marvinny has been the head coach of the SHS boys' soccer program for the last 14 years. This season he is welcoming several key newcomers to the varsity lineup including two freshman. Chris Moran and Andrew Bishara both earned spots on the varsity lineup as ninth graders. Moran, who joins older brother Nick on the roster, plays both the forward and midfielder positions while Bishara is a goalkeeper.
Other noteworthy newcomers include senior defender Tommy Wells, junior midfielders Danny Peabody and Brandon Rubin, junior defender Jon Vizzi Jr., junior goalkeeper Matt Evanego and sophomore Jordan Church. Evanego also joins big brother Nick on the varsity roster.
In a recent fall information form, Marvinny noted that the team's positives are their experience in key positions as well as their speed and depth. The high school math teacher also sites the creativity of his front field as as important asset, especially the playmaking ability of midfielders Oross and Tavella. The overall size of the players will be a weakness on the field for the Chargers.
"There are some question marks around the field," Marvinny said. "But there are a lot of players competing for those positions. The team has the potential to be solid and should improve as the season progresses."
The team has five scrimmages on the schedule for the final two weeks of summer before students and teachers return to school on Tuesday, September 6. They will play their first game of the fall season on Thursday, September 8 at home against Metuchen High School. The game begin at 4 p.m. on the Spotswood High School Varsity Soccer Field.