GLEN RIDGE, NJ – Like the past few years, the Glen Ridge High School varsity boys’ soccer team has a deep roster this season.
And that enviable depth has served the Ridgers quite well.
In 2016, the top-seeded Ridgers advanced to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 tournament final where they lost to second-seeded Dayton, 2-1, in double overtime to finish with a 14-6-1 record.
Despite finishing 8-12 last season, the 13th-seeded Ridgers made a good run in the sectional tournament as they upset fourth-seeded Becton in the first round before losing to Dayton again in the quarterfinals, 2-0. Dayton was the No. 5 seed.
Longtime head coach Steve Reitberger, indeed, recognizes the benefit of having a deep squad.
“We have big numbers,” he said of the team’s depth. “In saying that, it brings about competition.”
The Ridgers will host Cedar Grove in the season opener Sept. 4 at Carteret Park field at 4 p.m. in a Super Essex Conference crossover game.
This year’s team plans to go with a 4-5-1 formation. The Ridgers have responded very well to the new formation, said Reitberger.
“Our interior mids have been able to handle the ball very well,” Reitberger said. “But the theory of this is that your outside guys have to really run the field. It does create space, and we’ve seen that. Because of the formation, we have more space on the outside. We’re very quick on the outside. Whether we play a two-touch possession game, or whether we play through ball and have guys run on to the ball in space, we feel we have the option of doing both styles of play.”
Emmett Martin, a senior, is the team’s captain who plays left halfback after being converted from his halfback position. The Ridgers want to have backs who can handle the ball, and Martin fits the role.
Modesto Nogueira, a senior halfback, sparks the Ridgers.
“He is pretty skilled,” Reitberger said. “He is able to successfully transition the ball from defense to attacking offense.”
Returning as the starting goalie is junior Logan Kotronis. Last year, Kotronis got a taste of the level of play. This year, he has grown with the level of play as he holds down the fort in net.
The Ridgers know they are in a tough conference. With that in mind, the expectations are not so much wins or losses, but getting contributions from everyone.
To Reitberger, it’s not about who is a starter or not, because there are a lot of players close in talent.
“The key to this is contribution, not so much who is the starter, who is a sub,” Reitberger said. “When called upon, if you have a positive contribution, we’re going to do well.”