The Sacred Heart University men’s soccer team kicked off their season with some new additions this fall as they look forward to a successful season.
Following the resignation of longtime Head Coach Joe Barroso on Jan. 21, Anthony Anzevui was announced as the interim head coach of the men’s soccer team.
The former Sacred Heart standout has been coaching with the program since 2014.
“With my transition into the new role, a key area we wanted to address was having high standards and hard work every day,” said Anzevui. “We made positive steps as a group in the spring and the returning players have passed that along to our incoming guys this Fall.”
Shortly after his successful playing career for the Pioneers, Anzevui went on to play professionally with the Western Massachusetts Pioneers in the United Soccer League(USL). He later went on to play with three more teams in Switzerland and England.
A new coach means adjusting to a new coaching style, but fortunately many of the returning players were able to adapt to their new coach’s style last spring and are helping the incoming class transition smoothly with the team.
“Having a little taste of his coaching style last spring has given us returners a bit of an advantage,” said senior midfielder Rob Taylor IV. “The new players and returners have been able to mesh well and play to each other’s strengths on the field.”
Along with a new head coach, the Park Ave. Field received upgrades this summer with the addition of new lights. These lights have allowed for home games to be played at night rather than only during the day.
“The new lights on the field have definitely brought a better feeling to the team,” said Taylor. “We are able to have the environment of a prime-time game under the lights, bringing good feelings to the game before and after.”
After losing their first two games to Siena College and the University of Massachusetts, Sacred Heart picked up consecutive 2-0 victories over the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Hartford. The Pioneers were led by senior goalkeeper Justin Siegel.
“I really was only thinking about the future in those last final minutes,” said Siegel. “This is just the beginning of something great, and I could only think about the success these boys will have not only for this year but for years to come.”
Taylor solidified the Pioneers’ victory over Holy Cross with a breakaway goal in the 78th minute.
“I just followed my instincts to make the run through in hopes of getting the ball back and the rest was history,” said Taylor. “Celebrating with my teammates and the fans was a moment to remember.”
The Pioneers were shut out by Army West Point on Sept. 10, despite amassing five shots on goal, compared to Army’s two.
Sacred Heart finishes out their non-conference play against Quinnipiac University on Sept. 14 and New Jersey Institute of Technology on Sept. 20. They open up conference play against Fairleigh Dickinson University at home on Sept. 25.
“We want to compete in every game and build a program that our alumni and the university can be proud of,” said Anzevui. “We know results have to be earned and that is the investment of everyone in the program and the players.”
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.