CEDAR GROVE, NJ - It was a perfect fall night for a youth soccer game at Community Park in Cedar Grove as the home team, Wizards Sports Club’s U11 Madrid faced off against Jersey Crew SC from Montville on Saturday.
“Everything is calm. Everything is good. Go out with high pressure, my sons,” Coach Tamas Kovacs instructed his team, before they rushed onto the grass field in their Nike neon yellow uniforms.
Kovacs founded Wizards Sports Club in 2016 — he lives in Cedar Grove with his wife Carine and 10-year-old son Sebastian. ("Sebi" wears the No. 7 Jersey on U11 Madrid.)
Before turning to developmental training and coaching in the United States, Kovacs played professional soccer for Nagykanizsa Football Club, in Hungary from 1993 to 1999.
“When the opponent is closing in, I scream ball or goalie on the top of my lungs,” Wizards' Goalie Massimo Arcadipane [Jersey No. 1] said, as he slipped on his gloves.
The game opened with Sebi [Kovacs, Jersey No. 7] scoring the first goal for the Wizards. The young powerhouse went on to score 3 more goals during the game.
“Have a shot with your left foot! Your left foot,” Kovacs screamed to his son.
Sebi took the shot with his right foot.
"I remember going to my father's soccer games every Sunday night, when I was a kid, growing up in Hungary," Kovacs said.
Soccer is definitely a family affair.
Wizards' Michael Ruggiano [Jersey No. 9] tied Sebi’s sweep, earning a solid four goals on Saturday for the Cedar Grove team.
As the first half was expiring, Jersey Crew's, Drew Cerqueria [Jersey No. 7] scored a corner goal.
The score was Wizards 4, Jersey Crew 1 at the half. The players refueled with Gatorade and water.
Spirits were high on both sides at the start of the second half.
Jersey Crew's Chase Greenberg [Jersey No. 99] was goalie.
“Good job, keeper!” Kovacs didn’t hesitate to declare, with a thumbs up sign.
Yes, he complimented the other side. "Soccer is a game," he said smiling.
You can tell he loves it.
But, he's still very tough on his players: “PAY ATTENTION! ON YOUR TOES! STOP JOGGING! GO TO GOAL! MAKE A MOVE!” he screamed from the sidelines.
“I’m not yelling at them,” Kovacs said. “I’m coaching my team.”
After a tough start, Wizards' Michael Palmieri [Jersey No. 3] made two goals in a comeback-kid move.
"Bravo," yelled Wizards' coach, Federico Lucas. The 37-year-old is a psychotherapist at Mahwah High School and played college soccer for Monmouth University from 1998-2001.
Jersey Crew made a sweet move. Brady Rees [Jersey No. 7] added a second goal to the scoreboard.
When the referee blew the final whistle, signaling the end of the game, the score was 10-2 Wizards Sports Club U11 Madrid.
Kovacs has groomed a thick-skinned team of young men who took the championship title at the 20th Annual Pequannock Fall Classic Tournament this season.
"The boys played excellent tonight. I'm very proud of them," said Kovacs.
On Sunday, November 5, Wizards Sports Club U11 Madrid beat FC Pocono Elite Futures 4-2. Notable play: Jack Coppa's [Jersey No. 14] smart, swift assist to Logan Bratchenko [Jersey No. 21] for a clean goal.
For more information on Wizards Sports Club please visit wizsports.org