With the final weeks of summer winding down, and the 2013 season on the horizon, things were looking good for Long Branch head coach Adrian Castro and his squad. A relatively young team, the Green Wave displayed why they were an Asbury Park Press preseason Top 10 team, winning several scrimmages throughout the summer.
However, it would be their second to last scrimmage against Middletown South that proved costly for a team with such promising expectations. Junior forward Guillerme De Novaes, who was already attracting attention around the Shore Conference, got caught on the turf after making a cut and scoring a goal. It was actually the third goal of the scrimmage for De Novaes, but the celebrations quickly went south for the junior who knew something was wrong with his knee.
“We weren’t sure how serious the injury was at first, because the swelling wasn’t really that bad,” Castro said.
“It wasn’t until he actually went to the doctor and got it checked out, that we were hit with the bad news.”
A complete tear of the ACL ended the 2013 season for De Novaes before it even officially started. There is no doubt the injury is devastating for both the junior and his teammates, who on the field already seemed to develop a chemistry that would bring trouble to any of the top teams in the Shore Conference.
While neither De Novaes, nor his teammates can change what happened, sometimes unfortunate events like this have been known to make a team stronger both on and off the field.
“At first some of the guys couldn’t even believe the bad news, they were very upset and felt really bad for Guillerme,” Castro said.
“The guys almost immediately dedicated the entire season to him.”
Midfielder Sam Hernandez who is an established team leader for the Green Wave, switched his old number of 8 to 7 in tribute to De Novaes. Hernandez and sophomore Fabio De Sousa will be some of the main guys who will have to step up for the Green Wave this season. De Sousa who has already scored four goals this season for the Green Wave, learned a lot in his short time up top with De Novaes.
“The guys know they need to step up,” Castro said.
“A lot of the time the play would go through Guillerme or he would attract two defenders, now other guys have to step up and make plays for us.”
Castro, who has been with the program for six years, enters his second full season as head coach. Castro has been around the Shore Conference for years and played his college soccer at Kean University.
“I’m just looking to bring my knowledge of the game to the kids,” Castro said.
“At the end of the day it’s all about them, I just want to see them do well and enjoy it.”
It’s still yet to be seen if the Green Wave can rally behind their fallen teammate, and make a run at the Class B North title and the Shore Conference Tournament. According to Castro, his young team is committed to make some noise in the Shore Conference this season.
“It’s going to have to be a total team effort from a lot of the guys, but I’m excited too see what they can do,” Castro said.