Boys soccer: PJP 2019

Pope John Paul II

Head Coach: Sackda Viravong, 1st year at PJP II HS. 18 years overall as head coach at the high school level, and as men’s and women’s assistant coach at the college level; succeeds Tom Csongradi (5 seasons)

2018 Record: 5-5 PAC Frontier; 6-10 overall

Players to watch: Brett McMeramin, Junior, Midfielder; David Lattanze, Senior, Forward/Midfielder; Stephan Rist, Sophomore, Midfielder;  Giacomo Badalamenti, Senior, Midfielde; Anthony Capobianco, Junior, Midfielder/Forward. (Note: McMeramin, Lattanze and Rist are all returning starters).

Key losses to graduation: Salvatore Marano, Zach Murtaugh, John Wagner, Brett Leighton

Season outlook: The players on our current varsity roster played reserve roles last season and so we will rely on the returning starters to guide us from their experience. Turnover due to graduation is nothing new, we just have to shuffle the deck and find out who can step up and play soccer at the varsity level. The defense is young and capable of winning balls. The midfield is strong and can adapt quickly to any given situation on the field. The forwards are young and capable of scoring goals.

What will be a position of strength for your team this season? Our young players can step up and adapt quickly to the speed of play and the physical nature of play at the varsity level. The strength of the team is in the midfield because of the experience they bring. The core of players in this area are solid and can dictate and change the momentum of the game.

What factors must come together for your team to reach its highest potential? Our physical fitness needs to improve quickly because we are playing three games a week, 18 games in a month and a half. Many of our players have not played soccer together since last season and so the players have to adapt very fast to each other’s style of soccer and thinking. If we can move the soccer ball without losing it and string together passes from the back, to the midfield, and then to the front, we can definitely see positive results.

What goals has your team set for itself? To improve our fitness, technical ability with the ball under pressure, and make better decisions on the field. If we can take care of the soccer ball and control how we play, then the result will be positive no matter the outcome.