Former player leads Falcons in soccer

Former player leads Falcons in soccer


Former player leads Falcons in soccer


Being a former standout player for the Falcons, Matt Gasparotto is thrilled to be the new head coach of the Farmington High School boys varsity soccer team.

He replaces his former coach, Luke Juncaj, who retired this summer after 23 years in that position.

“It came as a surprise,” Gasparotto said, adding such opportunities don’t come around often. “My wife and I figured out a way to make it work in our schedule.

“It’s definitely a point of pride to say I’m a product of that program. I hope to grow the program in a really positive direction and develop the young talent we have this year.”

Farmington will have largely a new team, having lost 11 seniors to graduation and returning just five players.

The Falcons struggled last year, finishing 3-14-3 overall, as they tried to compete in the OAA Red Division following a good season with a veteran team in 2012.

“The team looks very, very different,” Gasparotto said. “That happens from time to time. But it’s an opportunity for players who’ve been working hard to perform when the opportunity is given to them.

“That’s the way we’ll look at things going forward. That’s what this season will be about – the opportunity to be varsity players.”

The returnees are seniors Sean Greene, Rishi Devangam, Marc Lowenfeld and Chase Walkowiak and junior Noah Whitton. All will contribute and have a role to play.

Lowenfeld is one of the team leaders. He has a lot of skill and will be in a center midfield position, according to Gasparotto.

He added Walkowiak is a great player and a very competitive one. He’ll begin the season on defense, but the Falcons might utilize his athleticism at numerous positions on the field.

The Falcons are strengthened by the return of junior midfielder Dominick Payne, who didn’t play last year, but was a starter two years ago.

“He’s a skillful player who has a lot experience playing at very high club levels,” Gasparotto said. “We’ll look to him for a lot of production, whether it’s scoring goals or creating opportunities for other players.

“It’s difficult for other teams to take a player like that out of a game. He has a skill set that allows him to work his way out of all situations.”

Additions to team

Junior Maliki Graznak is one of seven players coming from the junior varsity and will be the new goalkeeper, replacing second team all-area keeper Corey Sheltrown.

Freshman Austin Anthony and Callum Ashmore will have an immediate impact, Gasparotto said. Anthony will have an attacking role as a striker or outside mid, while Ashmore will based in the midfield.

Senior Iyanu Adegola, who was on the JV, is a good athlete who can play multiple positions, but his primary role will be as a striker and goal scorer.

Gasparotto also looks for 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior David Nelson to help on offense, too. Nelson was on the football team last year and will continue to be the placekicker.

“David has a great presence about him with that size,” Gasparotto said. “He’ll be a striker, a target player up top that we can get the ball to and let him use his size and speed to beat defenders.”

The roster also includes juniors Kris Camaj, Amar Krijestorac, Gavril Titu and Jason Seegert, sophomore Alex Kay and freshmen Joseph Carbone and Ryan Donoghue.

“The lineup will change from game to game, depending on the system of play we decide on for that night,” Gasparotto said. “We’ll have a nice, fluid starting lineup.”

Season outlook

Farmington has moved down to the OAA Blue Division and will be in the same circuit with city rivals North Farmington and Harrison.

The Falcons opened the season Friday night at Livonia Franklin and they will play an OAA crossover game Tuesday at Oxford.

“There are some very good teams in that (Blue) division as well,” Gasparotto said, adding the Harrison and North games will be very competitive.

“We have some tough non-league matches that will prepare us for the district. By that point in the season, hopefully, we’ll figure out our team identity and be competitive in the district.

“I will say I’m extremely optimistic because of the boys’ attitude and their respect for me. Their willingness to listen and be coached has been fantastic.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more in the last couple weeks. They’ve been responsive; they’ve worked very hard.

“That makes me optimistic for the season because, if we continue that, we can meet our potential.”

Senior Marc Lowenfeld is one of five returning players.

Senior Marc Lowenfeld is one of five returning players.

 Coach Matt Gasparotto is a former standout goalkeeper for the Falcons.

Coach Matt Gasparotto is a former standout goalkeeper for the Falcons.


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