Boys soccer team bounces back from season opening loss


by Ami McCaffery

The boys soccer team takes instructions from head coach Eric Puma prior to a recent contest.

Emily Chu and Lexi Nielsen

Coming off of last year’s outstanding 16-1-2 season, this year’s boys soccer team has big shoes to fill. With last year’s team comprised of nearly 20 seniors, seven of them having been starters, this year’s program demands for the current seniors to step up. 

While there has been much anticipation surrounding this year’s season, there has also been doubt, especially after the boys lost their first game to Hunterdon Central. However, head coach Eric Puma has nothing short of a positive outlook for this season. 

“Our players are fit, talented, hard-working and motivated, but for many, this is their first varsity experience,” Puma said. “They are learning quickly and dealing well with varsity’s speed and physicality.”

Although they had lost their first game, the team came back more ferocious than ever for the next two games. During their home opener against Watchung Hills, the boys won with a score of 3-0, reclaiming that same winning spirit from last year. Senior Christian Tyson scored one of the goals while varsity newcomer Dimitri Ramirez scored the other two. 

“It felt awesome to score two of the goals in the home opener,” Ramirez said. “As a team, we’ve been working really hard towards this season and I’m just happy I was able to contribute towards the team’s success.”

Puma hasn’t singled out any star players, but it seems that every player regardless of seniority has been playing hard to get their shot at success. As one of the three captains, Tyson is especially eager to use this opportunity to lead his team to victory. Having played soccer since he was only three years old, he’s grown up with a majority of the team, playing the sport in school as well as on club teams.

“Being a captain means a lot knowing my teammates trust me to help lead the team,” Tyson said. “I’m hoping to have a big impact in my senior year to cap off my high school career.”

It’s clear that even though the team lost key seniors from last year such as Justin Dominique, Johnny Gadeleta, and Zuka Bedoshvili, the remaining underclassmen and incoming seniors are working hard to fill the gaps.