The Brock University men’s soccer team has good news and bad news going into the season.The good: Last year, they reached the post-season, recording a 4-1-1 conference record for second place in the OUA West Central Division and an overall record of 5-3-2. Six Badgers were named OUA all-stars.
The bad: they’ve lost many of their outstanding veterans, including captain Stevie Sevoir, Paul Holjak, half of their star goal-tending duo, Kofi Boateng, Joe Pagnotta, Walter Martins, Byron Mellon and Hansjorg Boekle.
However Bill Millar, head coach, and Charles Ivanov, the Badgers assistant coach, are optimistic about their chances to take their remaining players and recruits and “blend into a winning team.” They boldly predict challenging for a conference championship.
The team is placing much hope on returning goalkeeper Mike Folino to backstop the defence this year. Millar considers Folino, a Niagara Falls native, already one of the best goalies in university soccer.
Returning to anchor the defence are all-stars John Gallo and Brian Belic. They will be supported by Mike Clutterbuck and newcomers J.P. Bossio, Marco Peters, John Folino, Eric Brac, Nathan Slichter, Tony Santora and Daniel Lustrinelli.
In midfield, the team is still strong on the flanks with Mike Hadden, a Oshawa native in his third year at Brock, who will take over captain duties for Sevoir. Millar describes him as “very positive and displays excellent people and leadership skills.”
Fab DiGiamartino, and Gus Marchio returning. It is in the middle of midfield that the biggest changes will occur. Anthony Folino (the third Folino brother on the team) will provide experience. He is joined by veteran John Kamendy, who took last year off to complete a co-op placement, and newcomer Mike Calabrese.
Up front Millar hopes strikers Chris Seale can recapture his all-star performance from a few seasons ago. He will be joined by fourth-year speedster Mike Edwards and all-star Lexton Hurlock.
Millar has coached at Brock since 1985, and is a former national team player and an A-license coach. Assistant Coach Ivanov is a former professional player in Bulgaria and is presently the head coach of the St. Catharines Concord Soccer Club. Millar says he has a great reputation in the area and also delivers coaching clinics for the Ontario Soccer Association.
— with files from Shawn Whitely