#lohudsoccer preview: Pelham

#lohudsoccer preview: Pelham


#lohudsoccer preview: Pelham


2015 Pelham Pelicans
Coach — Terence Huvane

Pelham's Ciaran Bennett(11) celebrates his goal against Pelham during a boy's varsity soccer game Sept. 30, 2014 at Grover field.

Pelham’s Ciaran Bennett(11) celebrates his goal against Pelham during a boy’s varsity soccer game Sept. 30, 2014 at Grover field.

How many years have you been coaching with your current team? This year will be my fifth as the head coach at Pelham.

What was your final record last season and where did you finish in the playoffs? Last year, Pelham finished 11-7, losing in OT to Byram Hills in the Section 1 Class A quarterfinals.

Who are your key returning players? Matthew O’Neil (Keeper), Enea Dushaj (MF), Liam Murray (Def), Danny Safsel (MF).

Who are the key players that you lost to graduation? Otavio Basso (Def), William Baffuto (Def), Eddie Livingstone (Def).

Did you gain or lose any players from the U.S. Academy system? Pelham may lose one or two players to the Academy system this year.

What do you consider to be your team’s strengths? Size in the box and goalkeeping. Pelham may have three or four players this season measuring over six feet tall. Matt O’Neil brings four years of varsity experience to his position as goalkeeper.

What are some areas of concern? Central defense. Pelham graduated Otavio Basso, Eddie Livingstone and Brendan Roche, three All-Section caliber central defenders. Our focus in camp, and throughout preseason, will be to rebuild a strong central defense around goalkeeper Matt O’Neil.

Who is the most skilled offensive player on your team? That’s hard to say… Offense and scoring goals was a bit of an issue at Pelham last season, so it’s hard to say who is the most offensive player on the team. There will be several new faces in the forward positions for Pelham, so we are excited to see who among those players emerges to score goals.

The best defender? Liam Murray or Andres Uriarte. Jack Gilchrist also works very hard and can be a strong defensive presence.

The fastest? Liam or Justin Johnson, maybe Greg Gordon? That would be some 200-meter race.

The biggest hustler? Danny Safsel. Terrific engine and he just keeps coming at you, no matter what. He has the heart of a champion and a winning, positive attitude that lifts his teammates.

Which team is your biggest rival(s)? Section 1 has so many quality teams, it’s very difficult to polarize one team as a “rival.” Locally, Eastchester is always a competitive, challenging opponent and Byram Hills/Pelham has been must-see-TV the last few years. That said, Pelham has great respect for all of its opponents. That respect builds honorable play on the field, and character off it, no matter who the opponent is.

Up next: Rye

I’ll be posting at least one of these per day leading up to the start of the high school season in early September. Coaches, if you did not receive a capsule email and would like to participate, please fill out the questions below and send them to me at vmercoglia@lohud.com.


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