Last season began with high expectations for Pearl River, and the Pirates lived up to the hype for the most part during the regular season. But when the playoffs began in a loaded Class A field, they stumbled against Pelham in a tough first round draw. The lessons learned from that loss will fuel this Pearl River team, which is much younger and will be breaking in a new core. I checked in with the Pirates last week, but here is coach Damon O’Keefe’s outlook for the season:
Who are your key returning players? Defense: Matt Neroda, Chris Coughlan, Vincenzo Galvano, Taylor Rudloff. Mid Field: Brian Chiarello and Tony Ortega (pictured to the right).
Who are the key players that you lost to graduation? Giovanni Galvano (playing in Italy), Alex Castillo (Rockland Community College) and Austin Maggiolo (Sacred Heart).
Are you anticipating losing any players to the U.S. Soccer Federation season? Craig Macdonald (ninth grade).
What do you consider to be your team’s strengths? We return a very strong defensive unit this season which will allow us to compete at a high level in every game. Many players have varsity experience so we should be ready to play against a difficult schedule. Our new young players are skilled and have a good understanding of how the game should be played.
What are some areas of concern? Scoring will be our focus early in the season. We lost our core of offensive players to graduation so we are looking for numerous players to provide consistent scoring and also have the ability to create scoring opportunities for other teammates.
Which formation do you anticipate using? 4-4-2.
What is your goal for your team in 2013? Create a positive atmosphere/environment that leads to section title.
Who is your biggest rival(s)? TZ.
Up next: Peekskill
Photo by Seth Harrison/The Journal News