MAPLEWOOD, NJ – With a strong group of returning players, the Columbia High School boys’ varsity soccer team has high hopes of having a successful season.
Head coach Josh Russotto’s team boasts six returning starters and five other players with at least one year of varsity experience.
CHS will open the season Sept. 8 at Newark Academy in Livingston.
The Cougars particularly boast strong fitness and athleticism. In fact, Russotto said this is the strongest team in regard to soccer fitness and the most athletic team in his four years at the helm.
The Cougars want to focus on working on their communication; executing on opportunities, and aerial dominance, unlike last year, Russotto said.
The Cougars have several players who will lead the way. Senior forward Joe Dente made First Team on the All-Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division last year.
In goal will be junior captain Sam Maidenberg.
Alex Lauder, Cameron Donald, and Sammy Freedson will provide leadership as senior midfielders and captains.
Junior midfielder Julian Lyons, senior defender Josh Anthony, senior forward Steven Kattouff, and junior defender Connor Thompson also are top returning players.
The Cougars also welcome back senior Avery Coreschi, who was on the roster in 2014 and 2015 but chose to concentrate on cross-country last year.
Coreshi “slots into the starting lineup as an everyday player who brings ‘leather lungs’ and play-making ability,” Russotto said.
Another addition to the team is junior defender Frederik Hoffman, a transfer from Seton Hall Prep who will help in the back with his communication skills, noted Russotto.
Sophomore forward Mack Turi is a newcomer who brings plus-speed, athleticism, and instinctive play.
Senior defender Marc Alexandre and junior defender Devon Rocha are other newcomers who will contribute.
Russotto wants his team to “assert our aggressive style of play over each opponent for 80 minutes. We feel if we can be consistent in deploying our strategy, we will create more scoring opportunities, score more goals, and put the team in a strong position to vie for the top of our division, county, and section.”
To achieve their season goals, the Cougars must show a “100 percent commitment to improving team communication.” Working well together on the field and playing smarter and more efficiently are essential factors as well.