The CT Soccer Coaches Association Banquet. Celebrating Excellence on the pitch for 42 years.
(L-R)-Naugatuck head coach Art Nunes and star Ygor Silva. Torrington star Kevin Vaca and head coach Mike Fritch Jr. at the CSCA banquet on Sunday evening at the Aqua Turf.
PLAINVILLE: It’s a celebration of excellence on the soccer fields across Connecticut and brings some of the best talent in boys’ soccer together to one place for one night.
Heck, the Aqua Turf Banquet facility in big enough, next year let’s throw down a couple of balls and see what happens!
On Sunday evening, a day ahead of the largest snow storm ever recorded in the history of mankind (sorry to go all panic weather enthusiast on you), the Connecticut High School Soccer Coaches Association held their 42 Annual Banquet to honor players, coaches, officials and a member of the media.
Parents, the backbone of any successful young man, were singled out by the CSCA for their dedication to their sons and their passion for the sports that brought them all to this room.
The Northwest Corner of the state was well represented this year, as it is most years and not just by the above mentioned honorees.
If you take a close look at the CSCA Executive Board, you will see a collection of some of the most dedicated teachers of soccer that this area takes pride in calling their own.
Michael J. Fritch is the Executive Director, the big guy, the head honcho and a guy that likes to get things started and finished on time.
Fritch, now retired from teaching and none too sad about it, was the boys’ soccer coach at Torrington High School nearly three decades and still leads the Torrington girls’ basketball team today.
The Treasurer is a familiar face and Raiders opponent on the Naugatuck Valley Leagues pitches in Art Nunes, who has his Greyhounds in the hunt each and every season.
Northwestern Regional Seven is represented by Coach Andy Campbell and is a Region Representative, as is Scotty McCarty from the Forman School in Litchfield.
All bring a wealth of knowledge and love of the game to the table and have been coaching winners for decades.
Two local players who thrilled their perspective fan bases for the past four years where honored at two of the highest levels by the CSCA.
Kevin Vaca from Torrington and Ygor Silva from Naugatuck have been playing soccer against and with each other for longer than both can probably remember.
Each possess an uncanny ability to make their foot and the soccer ball one. It’s as if they have had a soccer ball on their foot since birth and truth be told, the more than likely have.
Each earned All-State and All-New England honors with Vaca throwing in an MVP award for his outstanding play in the Senior Bowl game in December.
The battles between the two players and the Raiders and Greyhounds is stuff traditions are made of.
Neither team likes each other very much on the field of play but truly respect each other off of it.
It's even possible that the two may end up playing on the same college team next season. Silva has committed to play at Central Connecticut and there is a chance Vaca may do the same.
The Berkshire League was well represented on Sunday as guests dined on roast beef, mashed potatoes, pasta and carrots before some ice cream for dessert.
Sorry, when the food is as good as it was at the Turf on Sunday, it gets a mention.
In Class M, Jack Kingdon (Nonnewaug), Fred Marinelli (Lewis Mills) and Christian Royer (Northwestern) all took home All-State hardware for their efforts on the pitch.
Kingdom led the Chiefs to a regular season mark of 13-2-1, good enough for second in the BL by finding the back of the net 26 times. His efforts also gained him a spot on the All-New England team as well.
Marinelli helped the Spartans run the table unbeaten in the regular campaign with 18 goals and seven assists. Mills made a run in Class M to the quarterfinals in 2014.
Royer and the Highlanders finished the year with an 11-3-2 mark and also won two games in the states.
In Class S, three players (two from one team) were honored for their tremendous seasons.
The Thomaston Golden Bears boys had a down year at 5-10-1 but that didn’t stop the coaches from honoring Ardit Coma for his 10 goal effort.
Nick Ganio anchored the nets for head coach Rob Andrulis as the Cowboys posted a 9-6-1 record and hosted a first round Class S state game in Litchfield.
Brandon Hookstadt also took home hardware for his efforts on the pitch that included five goals and four assists.
The CSCA CT Player of the year was Suffield High School star Colton Grob for his work at midfield for a team than posted a 15-0-1 regular season.
Grob is understandably regarded as the top midfielder in the state and for that matter, the region and was named an All-American as well.
Mickey Watson earned All-New England Defender and was named the CSCA CT Prep Player of the year for his work at South Kent.
The other All-Americans honored were Jack Monnes from Hall High School and Stephan Dorney from Avon High School.
Thanks to Mike Fritch Sr. for the invite to be part of such a spectacular group of future leaders and champions.
Man that was some good roast beef…..