WOHS boys soccer in gear for modified season

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — As phase three of the NJSIAA summer practice nears an end, the West Orange High School boys soccer team is geared up and excited to play.

The third phase of the NJSIAA’s COVID plan allows the players to begin interacting with the other pods on the team. Previous phases only allowed interaction between members of each pod group. Forms, temperature-taking, masks and social distancing with cones when not on the field, and all other protocols are enforced. The team, along with football, cheerleading, cross-country, and girls soccer, will be off from Sept. 1 to 13, and the official preseason will commence Sept. 14. No team captains or final rosters have been decided yet.

Head coach Doug Nevins is excited for the season on many levels.

“July was tough with the COVID protocols, but during the month of August we have been pretty close to normal,” Nevins said. 

Several of the boys were able to play club soccer during the summer as well. To date, no team member has tested positive for coronavirus.

“Last year we had a relatively young team and a lot of injuries,” Nevins said. “This year’s team is composed of mostly juniors and seniors and the outlook is good.”

Should the season move forward as scheduled, Nevins expects the team will be playing a minimum of 12 games, and possibly up to 16. There will be no county tournaments. There will be state tournaments, but they will proceed differently to limit interaction and exposure.

“Just exercising, practicing and seeing each other has been really good physically and mentally for the boys. People are dealing differently with the pandemic and this has been a really good thing for them.”

Although the final roster has not been determined, Nevins named several “Players to Watch” for the season: senior center midfielder Julien Carraha, senior outside back Justin Reid, senior midfielder Louie Mignone, senior midfielder Darren Lewis, senior center back Bryce Hannah, senior goalkeeper Nikolai Matthews, senior goalkeeper Royson Folas, senior defender Connor Hinfie, senior forward Dario Carraha, senior midfielder Wilson Bermeo, senior forward Nick Sotelo, junior defender/center back Ari Rosu, junior forward Tyrese Folkes, junior outside back Francisco Soca, junior midfielder Santiago Orrico, junior defender Jeremy Green, junior midfielder James Palaguachi, sophomore forward Mason Bashkoff and sophomore defender Richard Capochichi.

Keep up with the boys soccer schedule at www.secconference.org/public/genie/282/school/34/.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD