GLEN RIDGE – For the Glen Ridge High School boys’ soccer program, summer competition is all about getting the “cobwebs out,” as head coach Steve Reitberger likes to say.
Indeed, the Ridgers again this summer participated in the Montclair State University Summer League, getting ready for the high school season in September.
In the MSU League, the team was coached by Brian Lovett and Billy Johnston.
Lovett is a volunteer coach who helps out Reitberger during the high school. He also coaches the younger kids in Glen Ridge.
Johnston, a 2013 GRHS graduate, was a former player for Reitberger.
The six-week MSU League concluded in late July. The Ridgers finished around the middle of the pack, said Reitberger. Bloomfield, Caldwell and Nutley were among the other local teams in the MSU League.
Because of family vacations and other commitments, the Ridgers had different lineups each game, but that proved to be beneficial as the players got the most of their opportunities.
By participating in the MSU League, the Ridgers were able to see what areas they need to improve.
“It lets the kids themselves start evaluating themselves,” Reitberger said. “They come off a season in November and some of them play club ball, some not. It lets them start seeing where they’re at. It’s kind of an eye-opener for them to say, ‘Hey, I got to get goin’ here.’ ”
For some of the younger and newer players, there will be plenty of chances to get playing time. Reitberger estimated that the team graduated 10 players, including roughly five starters.
The Ridgers last season made a nice Cinderella run in the postseason. As the eighth seed in the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 tournament, the Ridgers defeated ninth-seeded Belvidere, 2-1, in double overtime and upset top-seeded Dayton, 1-0, in overtime in the quarterfinals before losing a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to fifth-seeded Brearley in the semifinals. GRHS finished with a 7-13-2 record. Brearley went on to win to the section and state Group 1 titles.
This season, the Super Essex Conference will go from three divisions to four, with the same amount of teams. GRHS is in the Colonial Division, which is the third of the four divisions. The other teams in the Colonial are East Orange Campus, Belleville, Irvington, Barringer, Science Park, Golda Och Academy and Cedar Grove.
The Ridgers’ first official day of practice is August 15. The regular season begins Sept. 8 when the Ridgers visit Bloomfield Tech.