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We want your school's results!
Please encourage your coach/scorekeeper/booster club member to send us all JV team results this fall. We also accept photos.
The Nottingham JV soccer team celebrates its first win of the season after taking a 5-4 win over Robbinsville Tuesday.
Oct. 7 Boys Soccer
Blair’s hat trick lifts Nottingham to first win
Oct. 7: The Stone is rolling.
After a tough start, Charlie “The Stone” Iacano got his first win as Nottingham High’s boys JV soccer coach when the Northstars took a 5-4 victory over Robbinsville today.
Ricardo Blair led the attack with three goals, while Greg John scored on a penalty kick and Manny “Brick” Denis added what proved to be the decisive goal to make it 5-2.
Iacano praised the defensive efforts of Mike Susso, Andrew Bentz, Carl Agustin, and Manny Dennis, along with goalies Fiq Siddiqui and Rob Mazukewicz.
“Everyone contributed to a great team win,” Iacano said.
Steinert keeps rolling with wins over West and Princeton
The Steinert girls’ soccer team came up with two wins and a tie this past week. In a 1-1 tie with Ewing, Emily Gulsby had the goal off a Michaela Miranda assist.
Kristen Pirocco had two goals in a 2-0 win over Princeton. Prior to that, Kaylie Skillman and Jess Leaver had two goals each in a 7-1 win over Hamilton West. Emily Gulsby, Miranda and Kylie Amison had one goal each.
The recent run lifted the Spartans’ record to 7-1-3.
Catching up on girls JV soccer action
Skillman-fueled Steinert loses just once in first eight games
After tough start, Hamilton gets wins over Nottingham, Bordentown
Sep. 11, 2014 Field Hockey
Brown scores with three seconds left to lift Nottingham
Sep. 11: Gabrielle Brown scored her second goal of the game with just three seconds remaining to give the Nottingham JV field hockey team a thrilling, 2-1 victory over Hamilton West. The defense was led by Kendia Mesidor, Paris Wood and Jennipher Fernandez, while goalie Shannon McLaughlin had 37 saves.
Hamilton West sophomore Alicea Lepore stickhandles upfield Friday during the Hornets scoreless tie with Steinert in JV field hockey (Photo by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn).
Sep. 5, 2014 Boys Soccer
Steinert nips Bulldogs as Stanley wins coaching debut
Sep. 5: The Spartans gave Aaron Stanley his first win as Steinert JV boys soccer coach by taking a 2-1 win at Hopewell Valley today.
Sam Cohen got Steinert on the board off an assist from Jacob DiChiara. Tristan Spadola got an insurance goal on a bicycle kick for what proved to be a necessary score when Steinert put HoVal on the board with an own goal. Aiden Machado assisted Spadola’s goal.
Sep. 5, 2014 Girls Soccer
Grehan lifts Spartans and Fink to their first victory
Sep. 5: The head coaching career of Christie “Fish” Fink got off to a sterling start today as the Steinert JV girls soccer team took a 2-1 victory over Hopewell Valley in the Reynolds Athletic Complex.
Casey Grehan sparked the attack with a goal and an assist. Grehan set up Tatiana Dorner for the Spartans’ first goal, and then converted a corner kick from Jessica Leaver to give Fink her historic victory.
Steinert's Aaron Hossack (10) just misses tipping a pass that will end up in the hands of Hamilton's Marvin Ashmore during Monday's "Thanksgiving" JV game. Below, the Hornets' Christian Brewer, who scored two touchdowns in West's 21-7 win, is pursued by The Spartans' Paul Framo (Photos by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn).
Nov. 18 JV Football
Brewer and strong defense lead Hamilton past Steinert
Quarterback Juan Figueroa ran a stellar offense that scored 42 points as the Hamilton JV football team topped West Windsor-Plainsboro North Monday (Photo by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn).
Nov. 4 Football
Hamilton has its way in victory over WW-P North
Nov. 4: The Hamilton West JV football team continued its strong season with a 41-16 victory over West Windsor-Plainsboro North today.
“Cutback” Christian Brewer and Andrew Maldonado each scored two rushing touchdowns, while Mark Bethea chipped in with a dazzling 62-yard run on a quarterback keeper. Jake Elmer had a great game blocking from the fullback spot and was 6-for-7 kicking extra points. Juan Figueroa ran the offense flawlessly at quarterback.
The defense played exceptional, as Zach Harding had a huge sack and forced fumble that Malik Craig was able to scoop and score with.
Stars get pretty Fair effort with Malagrino chipping in
Oct. 28: Ben Fair and Mike Mike Malagrino each scored two touchdowns as the Nottingham JV football team took a 27-6 win over Allentown today.
Fair started the scoring with a 50-yard TD run, and Malagrino scored on a 2-yard run after an Allentown fumble early in the second quarter.
Late in the half, Malagrino scored on a 15-yard TD run, and Fair completed the Northstars scoring with a 2-yard run after intermission.
Andrew Maldonado (above) looks for running room against Hightstown during Monday's Hamilton victory over the Rams, while below, quarterback Juan Figueroa fires a pass to an open Marvin Ashmore (Photos by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn).
Ashmore scores two more TDs as Hornets top Rams
Oct. 28: Marvin Ashmore followed up his two-touchdown performance against Trenton with another big day against Hightstown with two second-half touchdown catches in the Hamilton West JV football team’s 34-27 win over the Rams today.
Ashmore grabbed a 45-yard pass from Juan Figueroa, then grabbed his second scoring strike, a 30-yarder, with just 20 seconds left in the game. Marvin had five catches for 118 yards.
Oct. 23 JV Boys Soccer
Hunt and Cubberly blank previously unbeaten Trenton
Oct. 23: The Steinert boys JV soccer team finished its season on a high note, taking a 2-0 victory over previously unbeaten Trenton today. Alec Gerasamowicz and Conner Burroughs had the Spartan goals, while Chris Hunt and Kenny Cubberly recorded the clean sheet in goal.
Steinert finished the season 7-5-1.
Hamilton receiver Marvin Ashmore (top photo, 86), who made big plays all day, exults after catching the winning 81-yard touchdown pass against Trenton during Monday's JV game. Below, the Hornets Caleb Sorhaindo (16) and Brandon Perez bring down Trentons Claude Townsend (Photo by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn).
Oct. 21 Football
Figueroa-to-Ashmore late TD pass lifts West past Trenton
Oct. 21: The Hamilton West JV football team won a thriller over Trenton today, as Juan Figueroa hit Marvin Ashmore with an 81-yard touchdown pass with under two minutes left to give the Hornets a 19-14 victory.
It capped a huge day for Ashmore, who opened the game with a 74-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, much like Tyleer Wrenn did in the varsity game Saturday.
The winning touchdown was set up when JP Cruz recovered a Trenton fumble when the Tornadoes were driving for a clinching touchdown. It was one of five turnovers forced by Hamilton’s defense, which was led by Brandon Perez, Cruz, James White and Jacquay Hodges.
The Hornets improved to 4-2 with the win.
Oct. 17 Girls Soccer
Steinert improves to lucky 13-0 with win over Rams
Oct. 19: The Steinert JV girls soccer team was finally scored on, but still stand unbeaten.
The Spartans had their string of six straight shutouts snapped but still took a 2-1 win over Hightstown to raise their record to 13-0 last Thursday. Mariah “Carey” Greco and Liz Harvell combined for a good effort in goal.
Today, the Spartans tied Notre Dame, 2-2, as Paige Meszaros and Julianna Nini scored, while Nini added an assist. Madison Wagner, Kara Bucchino, Veronika Kupec and Rachel Flodman played well defensively in front of Greco and Harvell.
Oct. 15 Boys Soccer
Wherley sets ‘em up and knocks one in as Spartans roll
Oct. 15: Michael Wherley had a goal and three assists to lead Steinert’s JV boys soccer team past Allentown, 4-1, today. Wherley scored off a corner kick, while Alec Gerasamowicz, Pat Ferguson and Pat Carr had goals as well.
Oct. 15 Girls Soccer
Steinert remains unbeaten with shutout over Allentown
Oct. 15: The Steinert girls JV soccer team refuses to be scored upon, as the Spartans posted another shutout in a 2-0 win over Allentown today.
It was the sixth straight shutout for Steinert, which improved its record to 12-0.
Marina Ryan had both goals, getting one on a penalty kick and the other on Julianna Nini’s assist.
That was proceeded by a 6-0 win over Nottingham in which Kelsey Espenhorst had two goals, while Emily Sacco, Brittany Woodruff, Justine Zola and Nini had goals.
Emily Sacco scored the game’s lone goal in a 1-0 win over West Windsor-Plainsboro North.
Mariah “Carey” Greco and Lizzy Harvell have split time in goal for the shutouts, getting defensive help from Madison Wagner, Rachel Flodman, Kara Bucchino, Brooklyn Becker and Veronika Kupel.
Oct. 8 JV Boys Soccer
Petito scores twice to pace Steinert past Nottingham
Oct. 8: Nick Petito scored two goals to pace the Steinert JV boys soccer team to a 7-1 win over Nottingham today. Ryan DiChiara, Michael Wherley, Dillon Fitzgerald, Alec Gerasimowicz and Conner Burroughs also scored for the Spartans.
Oct. 8 Football
Nottingham overtakes Montgomery behind Malagrino
Oct. 8: It ain’t easy to go undefeated.
Today was a perfect example for the Nottingham High JV football team -- but in the end it remained unbeaten.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Northstars trailed Montgomery by 10 points, but managed to pull it out for a 26-22 victory over the visiting Cougars to improve to 4-0.
Mike Malagrino threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to pull the Northstars within 22-18 midway through the quarter. The defense then held on fourth down to give the Stars the ball back with three minutes left. It took Malagrino one play to throw a 62-yard touchdown pass and the Stars added a two-point conversion.
The defense held again to keep Nottingham perfect.
Malagrino finished with four touchdown passes on the day (If anyone has info on who caught the TD passes please email us. Thanks).
Oct. 1 Girls Soccer
Steinert keeps rolling with wins over Peddie, Princeton
Oct. 1: The Steinert girls JV soccer team ran its record to a scorching 9-0 by beating Peddie, 8-0, Saturday and topping Princeton, 1-0, today
Against the Falcons, Brittany Woodruff notched a hat trick to give her 10 goals for the season, but then suffered a non-soccer related injury and is out for a few weeks. Rachel Flodmand, Lynzie Worth, Madeline Askwith, Gina Rega and Marissa Greco also had goals, while Emily Sacco picked up two assists.
Elizabeth Harvell and Mariah “Carey” Greco combined for the shutout in goal.
In the win over Princeton, Greco and Harvell had another shutout, while Julianna Nini had the lone goal. Kara Bucchino and Flodmand provided lockdown defense.
Sep 26 Girls Soccer
Spartans open season with seven straight wins
Sep. 26 Boys Soccer
Steinert blanks Lawrence behind Hunt, Marerro
Sep. 26: Goals by Mike Wherley, Noah Griffis and Pat Ferguson powered Steinert’s JV boys’ soccer team to a 3-0 win over Lawrence today. Chris Hunt and David Marerro shared the shutout in goal.
Hamilton's Andrew Maldonado fights for yardage against Notre Dame during Monday'd JV game (Photo by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn).
Figueroa and defense help Hamilton tie Notre Dame
Sep. 23: The Hamilton West JV football team tied Notre Dame for the second straight year, as the two played to a 6-6 deadlock Monday. Juan Figueroa scored the game’s lone touchdown on a quarterback keeper in the second quarter.
“Our defense played a great game,” coach Ken "Facebook King" Nehila said. “We sacked the quarterback eight times.”
Daquan Jackson had two sacks, while Zach Glanding had a big interception to stop a deep ND drive bridging the third and four quarters. Brandon Perez, Connor Brown and Malik Craig all stood out on defense.
Mike Elwell connected with Christian Persichetti for ND's only touchdown.
Sep. 19 Boys Soccer
Warwick scores twice as Spartans blank Ewing
Sep. 19: The Steinert JV boys soccer team won for the third time in four games by taking a 6-0 victory over Ewing today.
Brennan Warwick had two goals, while Alfredo Ochoa, Pat Ferguson, Nick Petito and Dillon Fitzgerald all tallied. Assists came from Giulz Focarelli, Alec Gerasamowicz and Ryan DiChiara. Chris Hunt and David Marrero shared the shutout in goal.
Nottingham works overtime to defeat Allentown
Sep. 19: The Nottingham High JV boys soccer team claimed a 3-2 overtime win at Allentown today as Cedric Gadie scored twice in regulation, while Ahmed Tahoun tallied the game-winner in the second overtime.
Sep. 16 Football
‘Cutback’ Brewer cuts down Hopewell for Hamilton
Sep 16: The Hamilton West JV football team opened its season with an 8-2 victory over Hopewell Valley, as “Cutback” Christian Brewer scored the game’s lone touchdown. Jake Elmer caught the conversion pass from Juan Figueroa as the Hornets completed a third-quarter drive that lasted nearly seven minutes.
Brewer and Andrew “Thunder” Maldonado led the ground game while the defense did not yield a point. Jacquay Hodges came up with a huge interception to seal the win, while Daquan Jackson and Brandon Perez also stood out on defense.
Nottingham puts away Rams with late touchdown
Sep. 16: Nottingham’s JV football team won its opener, 40-21, but it wasn’t easy. The Northstars had 26-7 lead cut to 26-14 and 32-21. But after the Rams tried an onsides kick, Nottingham recovered and needed just one play to score the game-sealing touchdown.
No statistics were available other than Mike Malagrino threw a touchdown pass to make it 32-14.
Sep. 9 Field Hockey
Gadus sets up Craig as Hornets top Northstars
Sep. 9: The Hamilton West JV field hockey team made it a clean sweep of 1-0 wins for the Hornets over the Northstars today, as the West JVers took a 1-0 win after the varsity game.
Hamilton’s goal came from Montia Craig off an assist by Jane Gadus. According to coach Marcy Brown, a stellar job was turned in by Shaye Kavanagh, Madyson Yousko, Ana Revendis and Sam Courtney, along with goalies Shannon Hood and Thalia Aponte.
Sep. 6 Girls Soccer
Steinert wins opener on goals by Nini, Woodruff
Sep. 6: Julianna Nini and Brittany Woodruff tallied goals to pace the Steinert girls JV soccer team to a 2-1 opening-day win over Robbinsville today. Justine Zola had an assists for Meridith’s Marauders.
Ian "Juice" Williams (above) celebrates with a teammate after catching the game-tying touchdown with 40 seconds left in the Hamilton JV football team's 13-12 win over Hightstown Monday. Below, Andrew Maldonado picks up some yards as he ran hard all day (Photo by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn). Oct. 22 JV Football
Williams TD catch caps late game-winning drive for West
Oct. 22: Who needs Eli Manning and Victor Cruz when you have Kyle Bohn and Ian “Juice” Williams.
Capping an 80-yard drive that took just under three minutes, Bohn found Williams with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds remaining to give Hamilton West’s JV football team a 13-12 win over Hightstown today.
The Hornets trailed 12-6 when they took over at the 20 and moved down the field behind tremendous blocking by the offensive line, which included tackles Martin Bury and Patrick Dillon, guards Justin Gaddus and Malik Craig and center Nnamdi Banks-Eke.
Jake Elmer, who was just called up from the freshman team, kicked the pressure-packed extra point. Malik Snead had a big 27-yard catch to keep the drive alive, and Andrew Maldonado got Hamilton on the board with an 18-yard TD run.
The defense had four takeaways and Efrain Garcia’s interception on Hightstown’s final possession sealed the win.
Spartans fall to Hopewell
Oct. 22: Steinert’s JV football team dropped a 14-6 decision to Hopewell Valley. Woodley Cherubin had the Spartans touchdown.
Sara Mulryne gains control of the ball during the Steinert JV girls soccer team's 3-0 win over Hightstown Tuesday (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at email@example.com).
Oct. 16 Girls Soccer
Wysock socks Hightstown with two goals
Oct. 16: The red hot Steinert girls JV soccer team raised its record to 12-1 today with a 3-0 victory over Hightstown.
Angelique “Texas Ga Ga” Wysock led the way with two goals, while Kaley Stinson also tallied. Brittany Woodruff and Kaelyn Angelucci had assists, while Mariah “Carey” Greco had another shutout in goal.
Freshman Snyder helps lift Hamilton Past Trenton
Oct. 16: Freshman Lyndsey Snyder had a goal and an assist to help Hamilton West’s JV girls soccer team to a 4-0 win over Trenton.
Freshmen Concetta Scordato and Sumona Nandy also had goals as did sophomore Kira Powell. Freshman Melissa May and sophomore May OO each had assists.
Oct. 16 Boys Soccer
Hornets fall despite Ruble’s corner kick mastery
Oct. 16: Hamilton West boys JV soccer team dropped a heart-breaker at Trenton today, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Tornadoes which brought forth a vow from the coaching staff of Anthony “The Roadhouse Man” Funari and Chris “The Baron” Raba.
“We have vowed to bring the program back to its former glory with a win (Wednesday) over Trenton’s freshman team,” Funari said. “The Baron is on the hunt!”
Against Trenton, Jeff Ruble helped set up both Hornet goals with two pinpoint corner kicks that were headed into the back of the net by captain Tyler Sekunda and Christian Rivas. Tough defensive play was led by Ed Cua, Rich Zambrano, Dillon Voorhees, Rich Veisz, Henry Uribe and keeper John Novak.
Hamilton quarterback Kyle Bohn shows his skills at defensive back Monday as he goes up for an interception against Trenton, while below, Anthony Medina heads to the outside for a nice gain against the Tornadoes (Photo by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn). Oct. 15 Football
Bohn-to-Snead connection lifts Hornets past Trenton
Oct. 15: The Hamilton West JV football team completed a three-game sweep of Trenton by taking a 15-12 victory today, meaning the freshman, varsity and junior varsity all beat the Tornadoes.
Kyle Bohn tossed two touchdown passes to Malik Snead, while “Andrew Maldonado, Anthony Medina, and Ian Williams all ran hard today,” according to coach Ken “Facebook King” Nehila.
The defense was led by Bohn, Medina, Zach Baumann, Christian Charlestin and Maldonado.
* * * *
The Steinert JV finally broke into the win column, taking a 26-12 win over West Windsor-Plainsboro North to improve its record to 1-4. Like the Hornets, the Spartans swept WWPN at all three levels.
Oct. 11 Girls Soccer
Mulryne goal gives Steinert second straight shutout win
Oct. 11: Sara Mulryne scored the game's lone goal to give the Steinert JV girls soccer team its second straight shutout win, 1-0, over Allentown today. Mariah "Carey" Greco had the clean sheet, while Brooklyn Becker, Lynzie Worth, Rachel Flodmand, Lindsey Toomer and Alex Biondi provided defensive support.
Oct. 9 Girls Soccer
Greco shuts out Notre Dame with help from her friends
Oct. 9: Brittany Woodruff and Angelique “Texas GaGa” Wysock each scored goals to power the Steinert girls JV soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Notre Dame today.
Mariah “Carey” Greco notched the shutout in goal, while Lindsey Toomer, Alex Biondi, Lynzie Worth, Rachel Flodmand and Brooklyn (how great is that name!) Becker played lockdown defense defense.
Oct. 9 Boys Soccer
Hamilton residents Reilly and Gola help ND trip Steinert
Oct. 9: Hamilton resident Brian Reilly notched his third hat trick of the season, while fellow township resident Mike Gola helped ease the pain of his father’s rough fantasy football season by also tallying a goal as the Notre Dame JV boys soccer team rolled to a 6-0 win over Steinert today. Hamilton’s Jack O’Donnell helped pace the defense to another shutout, as Notre Dame (11-0-1) has outscored foes 54-4 this season.
Steinert's Matt Chiaense runs for big yards against Highstown during the Spartans 20-0 loss to the Rams on Monday (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dakota Shelton, one of many defensive standouts for Hamilton, puts a hit on Nottingham's Arthur Johnson while Dave DeJesus (80) looks on (Photo by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn).
Oct. 8 JV Football
Bohn to Snead 49-yard bomb gives West in over Stars
Oct. 8: The Backyard Brawl, JV style, is living up to its name.
After two straight years of one-sided games on the varsity level, the Nottingham and Hamilton West Junior Varsity put on the kind of show fans are used to today when Kyle Bohn threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Malik Snead with under two minutes remaining to give the Hornets a 19-12 victory.
Bohn had two touchdown passes on the day, while Ian Williams had a 73-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“We had a great offensive game plan put together today by Terry “The Media Specialist” Van Slooten,” said coach Ken Nehila. “Our defense also played big today, stopping the Stars four straight times after they had a first-and-goal from three.”
The defensive leaders were Dakota Shelton, Connor Brown, Anthony Medina and Bohn.
Click here for more photos of this game
Oct. 4 Girls Soccer
McVicker makes back of the net flicker three times
Oct. 4: Jen McVicker scored a hat trick to pace the Steinert girls JV soccer team to an 8-0 victory over Nottingham today. Goals were also scored by Alex Biondi, Kathryn Miller, Sara Mulryne, Lindsey Toomer and Angelique "Texas Gaga" Wysock.
Oct. 4 Boys Soccer
Goals by Joseph, Montina lift Nottingham past Steinert
Oct. 4: The Nottingham JV boys’ soccer team traveled down Klockner Road to Steinert today and came home with a 2-1 victory at Reynolds Middle School. Witnidger Joseph and Roz Montina had the Northstars goal and Liam Nouvel got the win with excellent play in goal. Shar Reh controlled the midfield as Nottingham improved to 6-4.
Nick Petito had the Spartans’ goal.
Hamilton drops double overtime heart-breaker to WWPN
Oct. 4: Playing what coach Anthony “The Roadhouse Man” Funari called “by far the best effort we put forth this year,” the Hamilton West JV boys soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision at West Windsor-Plainsboro North in double overtime. The Northern Knights tallied off a last-second corner kick in the second OT.
According to TRM, outstanding play came from captain Dillon Voorhees and fullbacks Ed Cua, Rich Zambrano and Henry Uribo. The coach added that the midfield and forwards spearheaded several attacks behind the play of Christian Rivas, Giancarlo Vargas, Jeremias Rojas, John Novak “and last but not least keeper, John Palocious, who had another solid game in goal.”
And although assistant Chris “The Baron” Raba does not take credit for losses and remains unbeaten, he made his presence felt nonetheless.
“Even though the Baron was sick as a dog, he was making moves on the sideline like a Russian chess champion, always one step ahead of the opposing coach,” noted TRM. “We just hope we can bounce back for an away game today against Collingswood. But I have no doubt that this team can do it.”
Oct. 2 Girls Soccer
Hornets ‘May’ have found a playmaker in tie with Cards
Oct. 2: The Hamilton JV girls soccer team played Lawrence to an exciting 2-2 tie today in a game that went back and forth.
Trailing 1-0, Lyndsey Snyder took a long ball out of the back from fellow freshman Melissa May to tie it. Justin Peoples then scored to put Hamilton ahead with five minutes remaining, with May picking up another assist off a corner kick. But the Cardinals tied it in overtime and neither team could score despite good chances by both.
Hamilton's Michael Abbott (above) makes a reception during Monday's 28-0 JV win over Princeton, while Christian Charlestin, one of the day's defensive stars, pressures the Little Tigers quarterback (Photos by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn). Football
Hamilton has its way with Princeton in 28-0 victory
Oct. 1: The Hamilton West JV football team made it a clean sweep of Princeton at all three levels as the Hornets rolled to a 28-0 win over Princeton today.
Ian Williams and Andrew Maldonado both had touchdown runs for the Nehila/Meatball Master Machine, while Kyle Bohn threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Connor Brown and a 28-yard scoring strike to Malik Snead.
Steven Garcia made all four extra point kicks and the defense was led by Bohn with 2 interceptio0ns. Anthony Medina, Christian Charlestin, Connor Brown and Steven Garcia all played well on D.
Novak, Ramos team to give West the goal it needs to win
Sep. 29: In an epic defensive battle, Hamilton West’s JV boys soccer team was a little more epic-er.
The Hornets got one goal and it was all they needed in taking a 1-0 win over Ewing today.
“After having numerous looks at the goal in the beginning of the game, John Novak played a beautiful through ball to Diego Ramos for the game’s only goal,” reported head coach Anthony “The Roadhouse Man” Funari. “From that point on, the defense took over.”
TRM said that the defense was anchored by captains Tyler Sekunda and Dillon Voorhees, along with fullbacks Ed Cua, Rich Veisz, and midfielders Jeff Ruble, Giancarlo Vargas, and Christian Riva, who was making his debut in place of the injured Tyler "The Cupcake" Demarie. Jonathan Palacios “hawked down all potential shots to gain his first shutout of the year.
“The Baron (Chris Raba) and Roadhouse Man" were very proud of the effort put forth by the guys after a long week,” Funari said. “And The Baron remains undefeated since he only takes credit for the wins!”
Sep. 27 Boys Soccer
Fitzgerald, Sugg tally in Steinert’s win over Lawrence
Sep. 27: The Steinert JV boys soccer team edged Lawrence, 2-1, to improve its record to 4-2 today.
Dillon Fitzgerald tallied off a rebound of Cole Sugg’s shot, and Dean Klemmer scored a beautiful unassisted goal from a run down the left side.
Hamilton West falls to ultra-talented Princeton side
Sep. 27: On the eve of his weekly “Bacon Cheeseburger Night” celebration, Hamilton West JV boys soccer coach Anthony “The Roadhouse Man” Funari could only watch as a talented Princeton team took a 7-1 win over the Hornets today.
John Novak scored his second goal of the season just prior to halftime to close the deficit to 3-1, but the Little Tigers exploded for four second-half goals.
“Even though our guys fought hard, it wasn't enough to overcome the skill level of the Little Tigers,” Funari said.
Despite the loss, TRM had praise for the play of captain Tyler Sekunka, along with Tom Ruble, Jeff Ruble, Henry Uribe and Jerimias Rojas.
Hamilton's Malik Snead makes an outstanding, leaping catch against Allentown during Monday's exciting JV battle in Allentown (Photo by Donna "The Trooper" Brihn).
Sep. 24 JV Football
Hamilton has some strong efforts in loss to Allentown
Sep. 24 Boys Soccer
Despite loss to Northstars, Hamilton makes strides
Sept. 25: The Hamilton West JV boys soccer team got another strong effort in defeat, falling to Nottingham 2-0 today (Nottingham highlights will be added when received).
“Even though we got beat, we played very well,” Hornet coach Anthony “The Roadhouse Man” Funari said. “Again we could not get any breaks. Our defense is really stepping it up.”
The defense was led by goalie John Polaciaos, sweeper Ed Cua, stopper Tyler Sekunda and fullbacks Henry Uribe and Rich Veiz .
“Our offense had some great looks that were manufactured by John Novak and Tom Ruble, who for the first time were able to play up top with each other in the forward positions,” added Funari as he geared up for his weekly baccon cheeseburger. "Hopefully now that we have a better idea of where guys are more effective, we can string some more wins together.
“As always, we are depending on The Baron (Chris Raba) to continue his intense film study of future opponents to help our cause.”
Sep. 24 Girls Soccer
Hamilton gets balanced scoring in win over Nottingham
Sep. 24 : The Hamilton West JV soccer team earned its first victory of the year, taking a 5-0 decision over Nottingham today.
Five different players scored for the Hornets, with sophomore Justina Peoples notching a goal and an assist. Freshmen Felicia Bowers, Marissa Reed, Sumona Nandy and Concetta Scordato all had goals, while freshman Melissa May had two assists.
Tracy Mraw, yet another freshman, had the shutout in goal.
Sep. 20 Boys Soccer
Outmanned Hornets show plenty of grit in loss to WWPS
Sep. 20: In the case of a misleading outcome, the Hamilton West boys JV soccer team dropped a 7-1 decision at West Windsor-Plainsboro South but coach Anthony Funari said “The score was not indicative of how tough the guys played today.”
The Hornets only trailed 3-1 at halftime, getting a goal from Tom Ruble “on a brilliant free kick from outside the box.
“We played our hearts out, winning almost every 50/50 ball on the ground, but were out skilled by a very talented South team that didn't have that many chances, but connected on all the ones they had.”
Funari lauded the defensive effort of captain Tyler Sekunda, Rich Zambrano, Ed Cua, Dillon Voorhees, and Henry Uribe.
“Also,” Funari noted, “The Baron (Chris Raba) doesn’t want anyone to know he was here today. He doesn’t take credit for the losses, only the wins.”
Spartans win third straight with shutout of Ewing
Wherley, Petito tally as Steinert wins third straight
Sep. 20: Michael Wherley and Nick Petito tallied goals to lift the streaking Steinert JV boys soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Ewing today. It was the third straight victory for the Spartans after falling on opening day.
Domenic Maruca and Cole Sugg had assists. Goalies Jeremy Conover and Matt Powers shared the Spartans second straight shutout.
Goals by Novak and Ruble give Hamilton first win
Sep. 19: The Hamilton West JV boys soccer team broke into the win column for what head coach Anthony Funari “hopes will be the first of many to come” as the Hornets took a 2-1 victory over Robbinsville.
Forward John Novak gave West a 1-0 lead before Robbinsville tied it before half. Freshman Jeff Ruble then bent a corner kick into the far top shelf for what proved to be the game-winner.
“Our defense, which played outstanding today, was anchored by our player of the game, keeper Abner Wa,” Funari said. “He was supported by fullbacks Ed Cua, Joe "The Trap" Nanni, Jeremias Rojas, Tyler Demarie, and captains Dillon Voorhees and Tyler Sekunda.”
Rumors abound that Chris “The Baron” Raba was on the sidelines lending his expertise during the contest.
Kyle Bohn, who threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, tries to break away from a Notre Dame defender while Ian Williams (8) looks to help out during Monday's JV game in Lawrenceville (Photo by Donna Brihn).Hamilton West's Andrew Maldonado (20) and Connor Brown (15) bring down a Notre Dame runner during the Hornet JV team's 12-12 tie on Monday. Moving in to help out are Jacob Langevin (59) and Anthony Medina (27) (Photo by Donna Brihn).
Sep. 17 Football
Bohn-to-Williams late TD pass gives Hornets tie with ND
Sep. 17: Kyle Bohn threw two long touchdown passes, including a 44-yarder to Ian Williams with 30 seconds left in the game, to give the Hamilton West JV football team a thrilling 12-12 tie at Notre Dame today.
Bohn threw for 225 yards on the day, which included a 65-yard TD pass to Stephen Christopher. The defense was led by Christian Charleston, Matt Fryar and Dakota Shelton, while Thurman Leach, Efrain Garcia and Conner Brown had interceptions.
Sep. 15 Boys Soccer
A trio of Hamilton residents help ND to 4-0 start
Sep. 15: Hamilton residents Luke Brown and Brian Reilly each scored goals in the Notre Dame JV boys’ soccer 4-0 win over Conwell Egan today. Jack O’Donnell celebrated his ancient father’s 50th birthday by helping to anchor a defensive unit that has posted four shutouts in the Irish’s 4-0 start.
Reilly had a hat trick in a 6-0 victory over Lawrence last Tuesday, while Brown also scored.
Sep. 14 Boys Soccer
Steinert wins second straight via shutout over West
Sep. 14: The Steinert JV boys soccer team rolled to its second straight shutout, taking a 5-0 win over Hamilton West today to improve to 2-1. Meherab Shroff and Brandon Barboza continued their hot scoring with two goals and one assist each, while Owen Garton also scored and Alex Gerasimowicz notched an assist.
Despite the loss, Hornets coach Anthony Funari had nothing but praise for his squad.
“It was a hard fought game that was played with a lot of my guys playing through some tough injuries and in positions they normally wouldn't play,” Funari said. “Some of the standouts were Tyler Sekunda, Rich Zambrano, John Novak, Javier Abad, Dillon Voorhees, and freshman Jeff Ruble.
We had a lot of good looks at the net, but just came up short in finding the back of the net, then we got beat three times down the field in our transition game, which all resulted in scores for Steinert. Hopefully we can string two good halves together in the future and put some in the back of the net next time around. The guys were upbeat, and can't wait to get back on the field against Robbinsville next Tuesday.”
Sep. 13 Field Hockey
Parsons, Ross and Gagliardi lift Hamilton past Stars
Sep. 13: The Hamilton West JV field hockey team made it a 2-for-2 day for the program, as it followed the varsity team’s victory with a 2-0 win over Nottingham today. Kayla Parsons and LaShay Ross each had first-half goals, while Julia Gagliardi notched the shutout for the 1-1-1 Hornets.
Sep. 12/14 Girls Soccer
Steinert looking good at both ends of the field
Sep. 12/14: The Steinert JV girls soccer team put together big offensive and defensive efforts this week in taking a 7-0 win over Robbinsville Tuesday and a 6-0 victory over Hamilton West Thursday.
In the win over Robbinsville, Julianna Nini had a hat trick, Jen McVicker scored twice while Julia DeAngelo and Britany Woodruff had goals. Maira “Carey” Greco and Courtney Stanley split time in goal, while Angelique “Texas Ga Ga” Wysock, Riley Zoldi and Julianna Nini had assists.
Against the Hornets, McVicker had a hat trick while Nini, Wysock and Sarah Mulryne scored one goal apiece. Greco and Stanley again shared the shutout, getting great defensive support from Lynzie Worth, Lindsey Tommer, Rachel Flodmand and Alex Biondi played great defense.
Hamilton plays well in close defeat to Hightstown
Sep. 12: The Hamilton West JV girls soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to Hightstown, but coach Greg Paulick noted “It was a great effort by the entire team. We just came up short and could not get the game tying goal.
“The girls had five excellent chances and could not get the finishing touch necessary. Overall it was an exciting game and the girls showed tremendous improvement.”
The team featured Haley Bazanka, Stacey Jean Piere, Lauren Jean-Baptiste, Andrea Lucidi, Melissa May, Kristen Meara, Tracey Mraw, Sumona Nandy, Laura Olszewski, May OO, Justina Peoples, Kira Powell and Concetta Scordato.
Sep. 11 Boys Soccer
Shroff, Schiariti and Barboza lift Steinert to win
Sep. 11: The Steinert JV boys soccer team gave new coach Mike Osmond his first victory by taking a 3-0 victory over Robbinsville today.
Goals came from Meherab Shroff, Josh Schiariti and Brandon Barboza, while Rich Kozlowski and Andrew Baskharan had assists. Three different keepers notched the shutout.
Sep. 11 Field Hockey
Mladnentz and McCann pace Spartans past Hornets
Sep. 11: Goals by Christina Mladnentz and Maeve McCann powered the Steinert JV field hockey team to a 2-0 win over Hamilton today. Rebecca Brasko had an assist, while goalie Tara Dunfee notched the shutout.
Hamilton's Ian Williams gains some yardage against Hopewell Valley during Monday's JV game, won by the Hornets. Linemen Steven Arkuszewski (76), Justin Gadus (75) and Nnamdi Banks-Eke (71) look on (Photo by Donna Brihn).
Hamilton looks good in opening-day win over Hopewell
Sep. 10: The Hamilton West JV football team rolled to a 21-6 win over Hopewell Valley in today’s season opener. Tino Malave threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Thurman Leach, while Kyle Bohn scored on a 38-yard TD run behind the excellent offensive game plan drawn up by Mike “The Meatball Master” Papero.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ken “The Facebook King” Nehila’s troops recorded a safety and got strong efforts from Andrew Medina, Matt Fryar and Kyle Bohn, while Deonte Noncent had an interception.
‘Texas GaGa’ leads Steinert to win in season’s first rodeo
Sep. 6: The Steinert girls JV soccer team opened its season with a 9-0 win over Trenton today, as Angelique “Texas GaGa” Wysock had two goals, while Jen McVicker, Julianna Nini, Julia DeAngelo, Lynzie Worth, Rachel Flodmand, Kaelyn Angelucci and Kaley Stinson tallied one goal each. Courtney Stanley and Mariah Greco spilt time in the goal.
The Spartans are playing with four freshman this season, including Kaelyn Angelucci, Kaley Stinson, Brenna Darvis and Katherine Miller.
The Nottingham JV football team celebrates a monumental accomplishment after beating Notre Dame Monday night to secure the first undefeated junior varsity football season in school history (Photo by Wes "The Media Mogul" Kirkpatrick).
Nov. 22 Football
Northstars make their own history with a perfect season
Nov. 22: Who says Steinert's varsity is the only football program in Hamilton Township making history this year?
The Nottingham Junior Varsity football team defeated Notre Dame, 22-7, tonight to secure the first undefeated JV season since the school opened in 1982, and the second undefeated for any football team in Nottingham history.
The Northstars finished 9-0 after Jameel Bailey caught two touchdown passes from Stephen “Young Dawg” Adams. Tevin Williams returned an interception for a score to seal the win. Ralph Desir, Mario Boswell and Saquan Hampton helped solidify the defense.
Oct. 15 Girls Soccer
Hamilton nips Bordentown for season’s second victory Oct. 15: The Hamilton Girls JV soccer team defeated Bordentown, 2-1, for its second win of the season. Stephanie Turner had a goal and an assist, Jamie Bogdol scored a goal and Nicole Allen had an assist. Karen Estrada and Kelly Tohill were tough on defense, Jordyn Gennello only allowed a penalty kick score and, according to coach Greg Paulick “the girls worked hard, played some attractive soccer and deserved the victory.
Oct. 11 Boys Soccer
Nottingham gets past Steinert on Renizel goal
Oct. 11: Jean Claude Renizel scored the game’s lone goal off a Jon Pope corner kick as Nottingham’s JV boys’ soccer team took a 1-0 win over Steinert today. Kyle LeCrone notched the shutout in goal for Nottingham (5-5) while Hector Davila was strong defensively. Steinert slipped to 5-5-1.
Oct. 10 Football
Northstars’ defense sparks win over WW-P South
Oct. 10: The Nottingham High JV football Team improved to 5-0 with a 10-0 win over West Windsor-Plainsboro South, getting a tremendous defensive effort from Ralph Desir, Mario Boswell and Clayton Sary. Saquan Hampton and Tevin Williams both had interceptions for the Stars.
Alexis Santiago scored a rushing touchdown and added a two-point conversion. The Stars defense not only pitched a shutout but added a safety to seal the win.
Jill Murphy scores one of her two goals and is congratulated by a teammate during Steinert's 6-0 win over Princeton Tuesday (Photo by Mike Dill/purchase photos at michaeldillphotography.com).
Oct. 4 GIrls Soccer
Murphy and McVicker pace Spartans past Princeton
Oct. 4: Jill Murphy tallied two goals and Jen McVicker had a goal and three assists as the Steinert JV girls soccer team moved to 8-1 with a 6-0 victory over Princeton today.
Angelique “Ga Ga” Wysock had a goal and an assist, while other goals came from Sarah Gahforr and Jen “Chair Thief” Klockner. Christina Falvo had an assist, while Dylan “The Rising” Phoenix posted another shutout.
Sep. 30 Girls Soccer
Steinert tops Lawrence as Klockner clocks Cards
Sep. 30: Jen Klockner tallied the game’s lone goal off an assist from Mani Kissling as Steinert’s JV girls soccer team took a 1-0 victory over Lawrence to improve to 7-1. Dylan “The Rising” Phoenix notched the shutout in goal.
Sep. 30 Boys Soccer
Kerns’ hat trick paces Steinert past Lawrence
Sep. 30: Stephen Kerns scored three goals to power the Steinert JV boys soccer team to a 5-3 win over Lawrence today. Kerns also had an assist for the Spartans (5-3), while Chris Geraci and Chris Angelini also scored.
Stellar play by Jeff Komiskey and Christian Yi solidified the middle of the Spartan defense.
Sep. 28 Girls Soccer
Peoples, Gates pace Hamilton past Nottingham
Sep. 28: Madison Gates and Justina Peoples scored goals to pace the Hamilton JV girls soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Nottingham today.
Gale Jean-Baptiste and Jamie Bogdol had assists for the Hornets, who won their first game. Goalies Jordyn Gennello and Hailey Bazanka divided the shutout, while Kelly Tohill and Nicole Allen played well defensively. Karen Estrada's hard work and tenacious center created several scoring opportunities.
Sep. 28 Boys Soccer
Maida’s goal powers Steinert past Hopewell Valley
Sep. 28: Nick Maida scored the game’s lone goal to give Steinert’s JV boys soccer team a 1-0 victory over Hopewell Valley today. Christian Yi, Dallin Eggert and Jeff Komiskey played stellar defense to secure the shutout for the Spartans (4-3).
Sep. 26 Girls Soccer
Falvo helps Steinert rebound with a win over Ewing
Sep. 26: The Steinert JV girls soccer team took a 3-0 win over Ewing today as Christina Falvo had a goal and assist, while Jen McVicker and Mani Kissling also scored. Victoria Pagano added an assist while Dylan “The Rising” Phoenix notched the shutout in goal.
Coach Meredith Wolski said Jen Klockner, Angelique “Ga Ga” Wysock, Clare Gannon and Alex Biondi all turned in stellar efforts.
On Saturday the Spartans fell 2-1 to Hightstown as McVicker had the lone goal in a game where the Spartans could not finish on numerous scoring opportunities.
Sep. 26 Boys Soccer
Kerns scores twice as Steinert blanks Ewing
Sep. 26: Stephen Kerns tallied two goals to power the Steinert JV boys soccer team to a 4-0 win over Ewing today. Francis Pozo and Chris Geraci each had a goal, while Nick Maida had two assists. Nolan Kopec notched the shutout in goal.
Sep. 22 Boys Soccer
Messina sends message that Hamilton is now a winner
Sep. 22: The Hamilton West JV boys soccer team hit the win column for the first time with a 2-1 victory over Robbinsville today.
Charlie Messina set up Dave Kline for the game’s first goal. After Robbinsville tied it, Messina tallied off a feed from Ramone Franklin.
“The entire team played their hearts out,” coach Anthony Funari said, adding that “the true defensive standouts” were Dominic Tuccillo, Ed Cua, Curtis Sullivan, Zubaher Shams, Joe Burns, Joe Misciascio and Tyler Sekunda.
Nottingham plays tough in tight setback to Hopewell
Sep. 22: The Nottingham JV boys’ soccer team spent nearly the entire game in front before finally dropping a 2-1 decision to Hopewell Valley today.
The Northstars Joseph Whitsnidger tallied just three minutes into the game, and Nottingham held on to the lead for the next 64 minutes before HoVal scored twice in the final three minutes to win it. Sweeper Hector Davila and Sal DiCristie played well defensively as did goalie Kyle LeCrone.
Sep. 22 Girls Soccer
McVicker recites Gettysburg Address with four scores
Sep. 22: Jen McVicker pumped home four goals today as Steinert defeated West Windsor-Plainsboro South, 6-0, in JV girls soccer today. It was the Spartans second straight win by a 6-0 count.
Christina Falvo and Jill Murphy also tallied, while Angelique “GaGa” Wysock and Sarah Gaffor had two assists each, while Mani Kissling and Jen Klockner had one each. Strong defense came from Clare Gannon, Lindsey Toomer, Maggie Herbert and Alex Biondi in helping Dylan “The Rising” Phoenix notch the shutout in goal.
Hamilton hangs tough in loss to Robbinsville
Sep. 22: The Hamilton West JV girls’ soccer team dropped a 4-1 decision to Robbinsville today, but hung in after falling behind early.
Junior Allyson Prekop scored off a throw-in from classmate Chelsea Johnson for the Hornets goal. Hailey Bazanka was put in goal for the second half and did not allow a score as Hamilton rallied to make it close.
Sep. 20 Girls Soccer
Leigh scores as pair as Steinert blanks Hamilton
Sep. 20: Taylor Leigh scored two goals, while Victoria Pagano, Clare Gannon, Christina Falvo Angelique “GaGa” Wysock added one apiece in Steinert’s 6-0 JV girls soccer win over Hamilton today.
Sep. 20 Boys Soccer
Steinert gets two from DeSanctis in win over Hamilton
Sep. 20: Tyler DeSanctis scored twice to help the Steinert boys’ JV soccer team to a 6-1 win over Hamilton today. Francis Pozo, Brandon Barbosa, Christian Yi and Jeff Komiskey all scored, while Steve Kearns had an assist. Chris Geraci and Pozo split time in goal, while David Kline scored off a Thomas Ruble assist for the Hornets.
Vico Biddell goes up to snare a pass against Hightstown during the Northstars victory (Photo by Mary Malone).
Sep. 19 Football
Adams, King pace Nottingham to big win over Rams
Sep. 19: The Nottingham High JV football team rolled to a 2-0 start with an impressive 42-6 win over Hightstown today.
Stephen Adams threw three touchdown passes while Marquise King scored two touchdowns. Nick DeMarie set up a sore with a 50-yard kickoff return, and Vicco Beddell scored on a 30-yard run and made an outstanding leaping catch (see photo above).
Saquan Hampton, Ralph Desir, Nate Scales and Clayton Sary all led the defensive effort.
Sep. 17 Girls Soccer
McVicker scores a pair as Spartans ground Falcons
Sep. 17: Jen McVicker scored two goals and Sarah Gahffor added one as the Steinert JV girls soccer team took a 3-0 win over Peddie today. Goalie Dylan “The Rising” Phoenix notched the shutout.
Sep. 15 Boys Soccer
Sheik of Nottingham makes sure the Northstars rule
Sep. 15: Sheik Bangora scored the game’s lone goal as the Nottingham JV boys’ soccer team won its second straight today,1-0, over West Windsor-Plainsboro South. Kyle LeCrone notched his second straight shutout in goal.
Two days earlier, Jean-Claude Reneziel and Bangora had the goals and LeCrone the shutout in a 2-0 win over Lawrence. The Northstars are 2-1 after an opening-day loss to WW-P North.
Geraci works overtime to give Spartans a victory
Sep. 15: The Nottingham JV boys' soccer team took a 2-1 overtime victory over Robbinsville today, as Chris Geraci notched the game-winner with two minutes left in the second OT. Chris Angelini tallied in the first half for the Spartans.
Hamilton plays well in setback to Hightstown
Sep. 15: The Hamilton West JV boys soccer team dropped a 5-0 decision to a skilled Hightstown squad today , but coach Anthony Funari saw some bright spot in the play of captain Charles Messina, Nnamdi Nnajifor, Curtis Sullivan, Dominic Tuccillo, Jeremy Matos and freshmen Joe Burns and Joe Misciascio.
“We are looking forward to playing our next match against Jackson Memorial High School on Friday with our full squad for the first time this season,” Funari said.
Sep. 15 Girls Soccer
Turner tallies in Hamilton's loss to Hightstown
Sep. 15: Freshman Stephanie Turner scored her first high school goal with an assist from Morgan Meara in the Hamilton West JV girls' soccer team's 4-1 loss to Hightstown.
"The girls improved tremendously," coach Greg Paulick said. "I expect things to get better for us."
Pagano's two goals help pace Steinert past Robbinsville
Sep. 15: The Steinert girls JV soccer team got two goals from Victoria Pagano in a 5-0 win over Robbinsville today. Christina Falvo had a goal and an assist, while Sarah Ghaffor and Jen McVicker also tallied.
Katie Hayton also had an assist, while Leanne Chase and Dylan “The Rising” Phoenix combined for three saves to earn the shutout. Alanna Falvo provided stellar defense.
Bell rings loudly as Hamilton football team blanks Rams
Sep. 12: Robbie Bell rushed for over 200 yards and two touchdowns to power the Hamilton West JV football team to a 23-0 opening-day victory over Hightstown today. Michael Soltes accounted for the final TD by hitting Deandre Cruz with a touchdown pass.
The shutout defense, which recorded a safety, was led by Michael Abbot (interception), Christian “Chew” Charleston, Besean Smith and Marcus Hall.
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(Temporarily known as Charlie Inverso's blog)
July 12 2014
Views from Inverso
as the World Cup
reaches title match
July 12: Rider University men’s soccer coach Charlie Inverso is the former goalie coach for the U.S. Under-15 National team and has a keen understanding of international soccer.
Inverso continues to share his thoughts with Fish4scores on this year’s World Cup as it prepares for Sunday’s championship game between Argentina and Germany.
Of the two World Cup semifinals played this week, one will be talked about for the next 50 years, the other, probably for the next 50 minutes. If the semifinals needed a movie title, for sure, it would have to be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
When the non-soccer fan says the sport of soccer is boring, they point to this game. And ya know what? They are right.
ESPN studio analyst Santiago Scolari (who incidentally played a year of college soccer at Stockton State) says it was a great tactical game. Tactical-Schmacktical. I like Scolari but this game was a bore and atypical of this great World Cup.
Shock, dismay, surreal… the list of words goes on and on to describe the utter disbelief that the entire world experienced watching Germany dismantle five-time world champion Brazil. It was like being at a beauty contest and hearing the host announce the winner is Joan Rivers (Hey Joan, did you get the license plate number of that plastic surgeon that hit you?).
We had mentioned that this German machine, like a deadly virus can take you down slowly, painfully and clinically. We all knew that to be true but no epidemiologist in the world could have predicted this.
Losing Neymar was a national disaster but the loss of Thiago Silva, the captain, caused a colossal amount of damage to unbalance Brazil’s defense. In addition, the Brazilians were mentally weak right from the start and seemed to have given up after going down 4-0.
After that historic 29 minute Blitzkrieg where the Germans scored four times, they proceeded to reduce the Brazilians to look like the “skin” team in a Manfred Schellscheidt organized pick-up game. Germany could have given Sergeant Schultz from Hogan's Heroes or a Billy Seiler-trained Rich Fisher a run in midfield and it wouldn’t have mattered.
Despite the joy of watching this German machine it was sad to see the greatest team in the history of international soccer taken apart like a cheap watch. It was like watching an aging Sinatra forget the lyrics to My Way or seeing a washed up Nolan Ryan only able to hit 69 mph on the radar with his fastball.
REFLECTION OF SOCIETY
I have to laugh when my German friends say their team may be too soft to win the World Cup.
Soft, are you kidding me?
This team is a great reflection of the entire country of Germany, a fabulous society. The Germans are sharp, cunning and calculated.
I have been to Germany three times and I find the people to be extremely warm but there is a killer instinct to this soccer team.
For example, midfielder Mesut Ozil, missed an easy chance late in the game and could have made the score 8-0. Reports had it that fellow midfielder Bastian Schwinsteiger got right up in his face for missing the chance that seconds later caused them to concede a goal.
That is Michael Jordan-Larry Bird style of cold and calculated.
9/10ths OF THE LAW
In soccer this should be reworded to say “possession with the intent to score is 9/10 of the law”. The Germans did it, Argentina, Brazil and Holland (despite having some of the best players on the planet) did not. Possession is nothing significant unless you are trying to get in behind the defense to score.
Both Holland and Argentina could have gotten their forwards or wide players to take up high, wide starting positions to try to get behind the defenders or have their forwards, from a central position, make wide scooping runs to get in behind.
Brazil almost always owns possession and has fun doing it.
Not against Germany.
They were chasing from opening whistle to the end.
The top seven goalkeepers in this tournament, in my opinion have been Manuel Neuer (Germany), Thibault Courtois (Belgium), Tim Howard (USA), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica), Memo Ochoa (Mexico), Hugo Lloris (France) and despite only playing in two games the legendary Italian, Gigi Buffon.
You may think I am crazy but if the goalkeepers were switched in the Brazil-Germany game the score probably would have been more like 5-3.
Julio Cesear certa inly was not at fault for any of the goals but any of the keepers listed above might have been able to save a few. The same can be said for the penalty kicks taken by Argentina which makes the Louis van Gaal strategy to switch keepers vs. Costa Rica look more genius like.
Look for Germany to have a big advantage with Neuer in goal Sunday.
Is there anyone in the modern game who has a cooler persona than German standout Thomas Muller? He possesses an impeccable sense of humor, runs a charitable foundation for children who have experienced trauma and bereavement and he is married to a super model.
Oh, and by the way he is just 24 and has scored 10 goals in 12 World Cup matches.
OK, a close second in the cool department is Manuel Neuer. He is recognized as probably the greatest goalkeeper in the World, AND, he was a character voice for the German version of Monsters University.
I wonder if they had to change Mike and Sully’s names to Gunner and Wolfgang?
WILL BRAZIL LEARN?
When most countries experience a meltdown OR when they finally feel a need for a wakeup call, they recreate their system of player development. This happened to Germany 14 years ago and look how it turned out. Portugal, France and most recently Spain and Belgium all did the same and it produced renaissance results.
The only step missing for us in the US is a revamped system of player development. I hope to talk more about this in a post World Cup blog.
I wonder what Brazil, who created The Beautiful Game as a way of life is thinking now?
OF THE 16th KIND
I will admit, I was wrong when I said I didn’t think Miroslav Klose would break the all-time World Cup goal scoring record. He did.
What a fitting tribute to a typical German pro who just goes about his business in the right way. With the tumultuous environment surrounding the one sided German win, Klose’s phenomenal achievement almost went unnoticed.
I love the sharp, cutting edge game critique from former England/Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman. But if you cannot understand him half the time, join the club. ESPN needs to consider closed captions to help the Liverpudlian accent impaired.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A GOOD GAME
We need a good World Cup final on Sunday!
You will get one.
Argentina will play in three tight layers of defense and probably give way to the Germans to possess the ball. When Argentina wins the ball they have the best creator in the world to turn to but I am not sure that they will purposely sit in, win the ball and then counter.
Germany made great adjustments when they moved Phillip Lahm out of the midfield and put him at right back, removed Per Mertesacker out of the center back position and started playing Klose as a center forward using Ozil and Muller as their natural left and right wing positions.
What this game needs more than anything is an early goal. If it is scored by Argentina, all the better for the energy and attacking mentality of the game. The Germans will then mount an all-out assault on the Argentine goal and they have the arsenal to make it a classic attack.
If Germany scores first and the Argentines are sitting in, it will force them out of a defensive posture into attack mode. Championship games are often defensive so let’s really hope for an early goal to mix this up.
IT COULD GET MESSI
(A PLACE IN HISTORY)
Lionel Messi has some pressure on him for Sunday. He has been criticized for not carrying his weight when playing for his home country, been often compared to Argentine icon Diego Maradona and even been removed by many as the world’s greatest player. This leaves a lot of incentive for the incredibly gifted Messi. If one player can step up to make a difference, it is him.
It has been a long, tough month in the Brazilian heat. Germany has incredible depth but still the heat can still take its toll on a European squad. Plus, Germany is the clear favorite in the game which often times causes them (even the even tempered German’s) to be tight. Watch for this to be a factor also.
I hope for and anticipate a highly energetic game. Let’s hope the fans get their money’s worth and see a highly entertaining game.
I have Germany in a 3-1 victory.
Let me know who you have winning by emailing me at email@example.com
THE GREATEST GAME
If you never saw what I think may be the greatest World Cup game ever type in at You Tube videos: Battiston vs. Schumacher: Infamous moments. It is a 6-minute video of France vs. Germany in the 1982 semifinal highlighted by the German GK Toni Schumacher with a Lawrence Taylor-like hit on French forward Patrick Battiston.
RIP KEVIN KINNEVY
Rest in peace, Kevin Kinnevy and enjoy the final. If I close my eyes I can still see you running around with the German (GAK) uniform on your back.
July 7, 2014
Inverso sizes up
and adds other
World Cup tidbits
July 7: Rider University men’s soccer coach Charlie Inverso is the former goalie coach for the U.S. Under-15 National team and has a keen sense of the inner-workings of what goes on with the U.S. team as well as with goalkeepers.
Inverso was kind of enough to share his thoughts for the second straight week on the World Cup with Fish4score, as he analyzes the upcoming semifinals and gives his thoughts on U.S. goalie Tim Howard.
July 7: What a great World Cup it has been!
We all should be very proud of the effort and gutsy display showed by our guys last Tuesday against Belgium. The US national team provided this country with a buzz and a lot of excitement that should definitely help the sport to continue to grow.
Kudos to Jurgen Klinsmann and his team for a great showing.
We got everything we talked about last week and more. Near misses (Holland hits the post three times vs. Costa Rica), goalkeeper saves (Tim Howard of the US and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica) and more attempts on goal than any World Cup in recent history.
But the best is still to come.
The U.S. is out of the tournament but there are a lot of amazing players and three great games left to see. Arguably the four greatest soccer nations in history remain and they all have a storied past in this tournament.
*Ten of the past 14 World Cups were won by three of the countries still left, along with Holland -- the quintessential bridesmaid.
*Nine of the past 14 World Cup runners-up are countries still left.
*Four teams left, two from the Eastern Hemisphere, two from the Western Hemisphere.
*Five of the top eight leading scorers are still left,
The Brazil vs. Germany matchup is an absolute classic.
Brazil has not lost a home game in a major tournament since Joe Fink was listening to Frampton Comes Alive on an eight-track tape player in 1975.
However, they are facing a dangerous German machine that, like a deadly virus, takes you out slowly, painfully and clinically.
The climate heavily favors Brazil but they will not have an antidote for the loss of Neymar, Brazil’s marquee player, and Thiago Silva. The center official lost control early of the Colombia-Brazil game and it was too late to prevent the onslaught of fouls, one of which took out Neymar.
Also, coaches and parents, the next time you see a young kid do something foolish on the field consider this.
Tiago Siva, who scored Brazil’s first goal and is the captain of the greatest soccer nation of all time cannot play in the semifinal for an accumulation of yellow cards. How did he get the last one? For jumping in front of the Columbian goalkeeper when he was about to kick the ball. Dummkopf!
The X factor could be in goalkeeping. Brazil is known for producing legendary creative players with charisma, not keepers.
Germany’s Manuel Neuer is rated as the world’s top goalkeeper and his style is often contrary to his country’s conservative manner. Neuer often comes out of the penalty area to play the ball with his feet (21 times vs.Algeria) and this tactic might lend itself to some interesting consequences vs. Brazil.
KLOSE TO HISTORY
German forward Miroslav Klose is one goal away from becoming the all-time scoring leader in the history of the World Cup. If Germany decides to play with a true center forward, we will have a chance to see history. But something tells me that the 36-year old Klose may not get the chance to break the record.
MERCER LOOK ALIKES
It will be fun for anyone who played soccer in the late 70s and early 80s to notice the uncanny the resemblance between Klose and former GAK/Hamilton West striker John Wiener as well as that of German midfielder Bastian Sweinsteiger and another former GAK/Hamilton West star, Walt Biddulph.
THE OTHER MATCH-UP
Another classic looms on Wednesday between two-time champion Argentina, which has the world’s greatest player in Lionel Messi, and the Dutch, who crushed defending champion Spain 5-1 in the first game and is 0-3 in World Cup finals.
Argentina will be without Angel DeMaria who is Messi’s favorite target for a through ball. However they still have a great scoring threat in Gonzalo Higuain.
Young players wanting to score goals should watch Higuain’s goal vs. Belgium. It was a classic strike on goal. He had his back to the goal and took a shot that required two of the most difficult aspects of scoring a goal, a first time shot and hitting a bouncing ball.
They are also two of the toughest shots for a goalie to handle.
Holland has abandoned its classic 4-3-3 formation which is about as unexpected as Jo Jo’s resident Rutgers fanatic, Andrew Marinucci, wearing an orange Syracuse jersey.
Every youth team in Holland grows up playing in a 4-3-3 but coach Louis Van Gal, who will be coaching Manchester United, has employed a 5-3-2. The guy knows what he is doing and will probably have something up his sleeve for Argentina.
Still, Argentina has Messi and somehow he will find a way to get them to the final.
A Brazil vs. Argentina final would be a match made in heaven but I am going with Germany vs. Argentina.
Move over Tony Soprano, Knucky Thompson and Jack Nicholson, New Jersey has a new tough guy superstar.
Coming off his world class performance in Brazil don’t be surprised to see Tim Howard’s mug on TV a lot more. Look for Howard to become the new face of U.S. Soccer, which can only be good for the sport. His tattooed, bad guy look will be good for the image of the game. Plus, his story (raised by a single mom in North Brunswick and overcoming Tourette’s Syndrome) is a good one.
Most of Howard’s saves against Belgium were from point blank range, which plays right into the wheelhouse of a ridiculous athlete like he is. Howard has an interesting style on those plays as he leans or ‘cheats’ to one side much like a goalkeeper would do on a penalty kick. Because of his freak athletic ability even when he guesses wrong he can still make the kick save, which he did against his Everton teammate Kevin Mireless.
Look for Howard to still be around in 2018 in Russia. He will be battling Brad Guzan who will not bring the same flamboyant style but will be another in the long line of standout U.S. national team keepers. Ironically, both Howard and Guzan were both all state midfielders in high school, which backs up what master coach Manfred Schellscheidt always says -- "the goalkeeper is just another soccer player who is allowed to use his hands.”
Howard also has some interesting local ties as his North Brunswick high school basketball team squared off against Steinert in a Central Jersey Group IV tournament final that Rich Fisher actually covered while working for a North Brunswick weekly paper (Fish actually covered Howard during his sophomore year and agreed with Manfred that he was an outstanding field player).
The basketball game was played at Steinert in March, 1997 and marked a battle between a future World Cup goalie and future NBA player in Dahntay Jones.
I was at that game as my wife, Lynne, taught Dahntay and I can attest that Tim held his own against Jones.
Steinert, however prevailed and a few months later Howard signed a pro soccer contract. In the end it was Roger Bigos and Albert Mostrangeli’s stifling defense that probably frustrated Howard enough to force him to turn to soccer.
And trust me, Al will try to take as much credit for Tim’s success as he can.
Good for you Tim. I have never heard anyone say anything but good things about you.
HATE PENALTY KICKS?
So do I. When I coached at Mercer we lost a National Championship final on PK’s and that dour feeling never goes away.
I have a solution. If the World Cup final is tied, wait a week and play the entire game over. Can you imagine the money that would be generated by that rematch? And NOBODY loves money more than FIFA.
Agree? Disagree? Email your thoughts on Charlie Inverso's blog to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jun. 30, 2014
Rider soccer coach
World Cup as U.S.
June 30: Rider University men’s soccer coach Charlie Inverso is the former goalie for the U.S. Under-15 National team and has a keen sense of the inner-workings of what goes on with the U.S. team. Inverso was kind of enough to share his thoughts on the World Cup with Fish4score, as the U.S. prepares to meet Belgium in the Knockout Round Tuesday.
These views do not necessarily reflect those of Fish4scores, a non-purist/non-perfectionist fan who doesn’t care if America gets outplayed every game as long as the winning party continues!
I have yet to come across the person, whether they are a casual fan or a die-hard, who has not raved about or at least enjoyed the 2014 World Cup.
I must confess, I did not think we would get out of the group and I had my concerns about the player selection and lineup. But kudos to Jurgen Klinsmann, his staff and especially the players for the tremendous job they have done so far.
The positive is that we beat the odds and got through the Group of Death but there is a huge side of me that feels empty. We have, as in 2010 and 2002 caught a ton of breaks and were decisively outplayed in two of our three games.
Like many of us perfectionist/purists I just don’t want us to continue to win games from good old American guts and glory. I want us to outplay the other country like we did in three of our games in 2002.
This is why I am really looking forward to an exciting game against Belgium.
Belgium is a team that is experiencing a renaissance period with an influx of young, talented players that you will want to watch. More about them later.
Here are some random thoughts I have had while watching nearly every game.
HEY WHAT ABOUT?
A) Diving - I absolutely hate it but it is a cultural thing and it probably won’t go away so why let it ruin the game for you?
B) Biting - What a shame that a player with such skill and passionrobs us fans of his uncanny talent. I hope Suarez gets some help.
C) Offsides - HATE IT. The AR (linesmen) is often too anxious to be a part of the show. I wish the rule called for a complete separation (except when going to goal vs. Rider) between the attacker and the defender.
D) Commentators - Roberto Martinez is the best studio analyst we have ever had. Probably because he coaches in the best league in the world. What a difference from Ernie Johnson in the TBS studio in 1990. Michael Ballack and Ruud van Nistelrooy are also very good and wear cool suits.
F) Straight Red Card - Sometimes it looks like the tackle did not deserve the red card and it was not a hard foul. It is hard to justify and accept having to play with one less player.
I still like a good hard game but players are stronger than ever and there is NO protection out there. Shin guards are about as helpful as a helmet to a sky diver.
The red card is a preventative measure and is meant to protect the more talented players from getting clobbered. Pele was useless in the 1962 World Cup because of vicious tackles so can you imagine how many times Messi would get chopped up if not for the red card rule?
G) Lack of Scoring - This might end up being the highest scoring World Cup ever. Don’t worry about low scoring games, focus on the skill, speed of play and chances at goal. A great chance that is missed can be as exciting as a goal. Take for example Chile hitting the crossbar with less than five minutes to go that would have eliminated Brazil.
Also, a great game to watch is when the better team is tied or trailing and is chasing the game to score. You will see chance after chance and it resembles a 30 minute power play.
H) Best place to watch a game - In your living room on a 55 inch flat screen (God, I only wish) with the maximum of just two other people. Sorry Mike Scharibone.
THE PORTUGAL 55:
Rich Fisher has declared the Mercer County Athletics Christmas Eve Club to be the “Greatest Three Hours of the Year”. Well then, this was the “worst 55 seconds of the year” at the end of the tie with Portugal. Michael Bradley lost the ball in the midfield but it should never have even happened.
If I could use a football analogy it would be as if you had the ball on your own 30 and instead of taking a knee (DeAndre Yedlin) you try to run a play and fumble. Then, instead of dropping everyone back, playing five defensive backs and defending the Hail Mary, you decide to blitz. This is coupled with the fact that the opponent has a receiver like Calvin Johnson.
There should have been 10 players behind the ball but we gave the greatest player in the world (although he is only a 50 percent Ronaldo) a chance to show why he earned that title. An aerial camera shot also showed that Geoff Cameron, who was our best player vs. Ghana, was the other player to be vilified when it was actually Fabian Johnson who did not track his man.
For you youngsters watching at home, if you want to score goals, get into the box. Silvestre Varela ran over 65 yards to get on the end of the insanely great Ronaldo cross to score probably the best (and most painful) goal of the tournament.
THE BRADLEY DEBATE:
I make no bones about it, I am a big Michael Bradley fan and despite his struggles I still consider him our catalyst.
The US is playing three holding midfielders, which is like playing with three two-guards in basketball. Most teams play with an up midfielder or playmaker, a two way midfielder a defensive midfielder. Bradley is playing the up midfielder and, for me, is trying to do too much because we lack the variety in midfield personnel.
What the people who are killing him don’t realize is that he has covered more ground than any midfielder in the World Cup. At any level, but particularly the international level, this is huge.
Dempsey is the captain and the ultimate X factor but this team feeds off of Bradley and Tim Howard.
I have known Michael since he was a baby but I haven’t talked to him in five years. Still, I don’t defend him because I know him but because he is the consummate pro. Anyone who thinks he should be yanked for the Belgium game is, pretty much a moron.
THOUGHTS ON BELGIUM:
Belgium did not qualify for the previous two World Cups and have not reached the round of 16 since 2002. However they are experiencing a Golden Age in which they have stockpiled many young talented players who play the game with great skill and precision.
Belgium schooled us in a pre-World Cup game last year and they are currently doing what I hope we can do some day and that is produce players who play regularly in some of the greatest teams in the world.
They have 17 players playing in the three top leagues (England, Spain, Germany) in the world and an amazing 11 players playing for clubs ranked in the top 10 in the world. Not only will you enjoy the level of play but you will get a kick out of center midfielder Fellaini (Number 6) who looks like a cross between Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter and Harpo Marx. It is going to be a great contest and a great test to gauge our progress.
I used to worry about the growth of soccer and its popularity. I don’t worry about this anymore because what this World Cup has proven is that Americans will watch the game and enjoy it if it is a good game with good players on display.
Trust me, Tuesday will be top notch.
May 25, 2014
rampant at CJ III meet at Monmouth;
on Memorial Day
May 25: There’s no getting around it. Grace Dwyer is becoming a freakin’ rock star.
The Nottingham High sophomore destroys the stereotype. She’s quiet, humble, courteous, kind toward others and everything else that a rock star isn’t supposed to be.
But she’s becoming one any way.
After taking her second gold medal Saturday at this weekend’s NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III meet at Monmouth Regional High School, Dwyer stood under the bleachers getting ready for an interview and some middle aged guy walked by pumping his fist. “Great job Grace, awesome as usual!” She smiled and politely replied “Thank you!”
“Who’s that guy?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” came the answer with a shrug.
It didn’t stop there. All through the interview, people were walking by yelling her name, barking congratulations, looking over at her as if just trying to catch a glimpse.
I felt like a rock star just being the one to interview her, for cryin’ out loud.
It was really cool.
But was it ever expected?
“I don’t know,” said the Amazing One. “I never really thought about it.”
Which is why she is Grace Dwyer. Humble to the core as she runs her way through life and loves every minute of it. And more and more people are enjoying the ride, as was witnessed Saturday.
Not just the strangers walking by, but the girls she is racing against, who can’t get mad at someone for beating them, when that same someone is encouraging them as they come across the finish line. And when she approaches those girls, some of their faces light up, like “Wow!”
Whenever I text out the latest record that Grace sets, the re-tweets blow up. Not just from track people and not just from Nottingham people. They are kids from Steinert and Hamilton. . .they are football players and soccer stars.
What is it about the Amazing One? What is this growing craze of Grace Mania?
“Distance races aren’t easy,” said Nottingham coach Melissa “Shop ‘N Bag” Foley, who has impressively taken on the responsibility of preparing this rare young talent for a promising future. “You have to train to get to that level. You can’t skip out on the training aspect of it.
“So people know you have to be a disciplined athlete . . . a disciplined person, period. You’re not going to get to this level if you’re not disciplined. So I think people appreciate that. . .and it’s fun to watch her.”
But what makes it even more special is the person herself.
It’s Grace being Grace – a rock star who doesn’t act like one.
And from what I've seen so far, I don't see that ever changing.
* * * *
It’s Memorial Day Weekend, one of my favorite times of the year.
And yes, my friends will tell you a big part of that is the free beer and hot dogs at Nottingham Firehouse after Monday’s parade. And no, I can’t argue that.
But I’m a big picture guy. And the big picture is, a lot of good men and women . .. A LOT . . . gave their lives so I can enjoy a sunny-day parade and all the fun that follows. Our country is safe and free because of those people, including my dad.
Thankfully, he did not give his life in the line of duty. If he did, I wouldn’t be here. He served six years in the Navy during World War II – went out and enlisted right after Pearl Harbor like so many others.
He regaled me with tales of his service days. But it’s not what you think. He never spoke of battles, or combat or danger.
He spoke of his good buddy, Speedy Shantz of North Carolina, who I heard about so much I feel like he’s my good buddy (and who I always wanted to meet). He bragged about the women he was with, always joking I may have siblings all over the world that I knew nothing about (I just hope they’re rich and know about me when they die).
But he never talked about “The War.”
So up until he passed away nearly 10 years ago, I just thought World War II was one big party for Dick Fisher.
After he left us, I had to go through his things. And I saw ribbons, and medals and accommodations and tons of other honors that smacked me over the head and said “Your father was a hero bud, but he never wanted to brag about it.”
I got tears in my eyes looking at them, being impressed at how modest he was about it, but getting mad that he never let me appreciate what he did while he was alive. This guy put his life on the line time after time after time.
I’m a true believer in The Greatest Generation – those who grew up with nothing due to the depression, and then went out and fought for a country that had treated it kind of badly up to that point. One of the greatest traits of that era was, they did what they had to do without feeling they were owed anything, or needed praise for their accomplishments.
They did what they had to do, whether in war, or as little kids.
My dad grew up during the depression with my Uncle Len – whom I curse both of them for making me a hopeless Phillies fan. He told me how he and Len and some other neighborhood kids would buy 10 baking potatoes for a nickel, put them in foil, dig a hole and light a fire to cook them. It would take a while so they would go off and play, then come back when they were done.
One day their play time was interrupted by fire engines. They quit what they were doing and followed the red trucks to see the fire. It was a giant billboard up in flames. Beneath the billboard was a hole with 10 potatoes in foil sitting there.
“What did you do?” I asked.
“We waited for the fire engines to leave, then dug up our potatoes and ate them,” he said, adding the refrain I heard so often. “Hey, it was the depression.”
Anyway, I wax eloquent about my dad for a reason. He is buried in the BG William C Doyle Veterans Cemetery in Arneytown, which is a suburb of the thriving metropolis of Wrightstown.
If you have an ounce of patriotism in you, go visit that cemetery this Memorial Day weekend. Take my word for it, this is not some maudlin suggestion that I know sounds like it would be depressing. It is inspirational. It will give you chills. It’s like visiting Arlington National Cemetary on a smaller scale.
They put flags at the gravesites of every person buried there. And it’s open space so there is usually a breeze, with thousands of flags blowing proudly. If it doesn’t move you in some way, then you’re just not American.
I’m not saying go out of your way to do this. But it’s not too far off Route 195. If you’re in the area, just drive through. It takes 10 minutes. It’s awesome.
Other than that, Happy Memorial Day everybody. Enjoy your picnics and golf games and trips to the shore and, of course, the Memorial Day Parade and the free beer and hot dogs that come with it.
And take time to remember why we get to enjoy it all.
I know I will.
May 11, 2014
Hey Liz Clifford:
You freakin' rock !
May 11: First off, happy Mother’s Day to all you sports moms out there, especially Fish4scores Twitter Team moms Angela LaBelle, Kathy Hallam and Patti Astbury, and the Fish4scores photographer moms Donna “The Trooper” Brihn, Mary Malone, Nancy Eggert, Nancy McManimon and the newly arrived Karen Kontrath .
Oh yeah, and to my mom too. Love ya mom!!
OK, now that’s taken care of, let me just say there are some days where I absolutely cherish my job, and this is one of those days.
All thanks to Nottingham High senior softball catcher Liz Clifford.
This has nothing to do with last-second buzzer beaters, or a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, or a guy running for 250 yards and five touchdowns.
This goes beyond the field.
So often, because what I do is cover and report on games, I only see high school kids as athletes. I sometimes forget, or disregard, that there are countless other sides to their lives.
Which, I find curious, because my favorite part of being a sports writer is not attending athletic events, but dealing with so many different personalities and sharing laughs and stories and all that cool stuff. Of all the wonderful friends I am so lucky to have, a huge percentage have come from covering sports, which is proof positive there is more to the athlete than the games themselves, because I don’t go over their house and watch them play a game (unless Fantasy Football counts).
Fortunately, there are times when I am reminded that the athletic part of the person is only a small percentage of the equation. When doing stories on scholarship winners, I see all the great things these kids do in their school and community that have nothing to do with a ball or puck or discus. Or when attending banquets, and getting to hear some of the marvelous things these kids do.
Or days like today, when Liz Clifford knocked my socks off so effectively, I rushed home to write this blog so fast I almost forgot to pick up coffee at 7-11 . . .note the word “almost”.
Today was Youth Day at my church. The youth took over all the roles usually performed by the adults (including giving me the day off as an usher. Thanks guys!).
The biggest responsibility of the day fell to Clifford, who volunteered to give the sermon. And, as Youth Minister Doug Cornelius pointed out, this was done at the 8 a.m. service – the earliest of the day – so that’s even more impressive.
(Of course we all know the real reason Liz did this is because Nottingham is playing Notre Dame in the Mercer County Tournament Monday, so she is doing what she can to even things up with the Big Man, right? Ha ha! Kidding!!!)
Anyway, when I saw Liz’s name in the program – although her church goin’ name is Elizabeth, lol – I got very excited and nudged the guy next to me. “That’s the Nottingham softball catcher! I’ve interviewed her.” He nodded and gave an “Oh yeah?” but I detected his excitement level did not quite reach mine.
Anyway, I always knew Liz was a good kid just from my interviews with her, and watching her interact with teammates. I knew nothing about her public speaking skills, however.
Now I do.
And Liz Clifford, you were freakin’ awesome!!!
Liz stood before the congregation and delivered a message of faith, and how important faith has been to her life. She gave unfortunate examples of how she nearly lost faith due to several difficulties earlier in life, but turned the sermon into one of positive re-enforcement by declaring how she regained her faith, how it got her though it all, and how it sustains her each and every day.
She spoke fluidly, firmly, emotionally, eloquently and with purpose. There were no pauses, or “uhs”. Liz knew what she wanted to get across and did it so very well.
It was tremendous. I sat there grinning with pride, as if I had anything at all the do with it. I wanted to stand up and say “I know her!”
I didn’t, only because I imagined the conversation in the dugout before tomorrow’s game with ND.
“Hey, you guys know that guy Fisher from Fish4scores? You should have seen what an idiot he made of himself yesterday.”
“Really? Tell us all about it!”
So, common sense took over and I sat and smiled, as did Liz’s mom. It was great. And even though I didn’t blurt it out in church, I will say it here and now.
I know Liz Clifford.
And I’m darn proud to say it!
* * * *
OK, here’s a question. Are you ever in the bank, waiting for a really slow teller to complete your transaction, and suddenly become aware that there are cameras focused on you from every angle?
I’ve been dealing with this ever since Roma was eaten up by Investors Bank. They are all new tellers who don’t know you by face, so they have to do a complete FBI background check in order to cash a $10 check.
As time drags on, I get bored and look around and see all the cameras, and then I start to wonder. . .what do I do? How do they analyze a person?
If I look at the teller, it makes it seem like I don’t trust them. If I stare over at someone else in line, it could be perceived as leering at a woman. If I cast a gaze toward the other employees, they might think I’m casing the joint for a hold-up. The same goes for looking up at the cameras themselves.
What to do, what to do?
And then the answer hits me.
Just stand here you idiot. No one cares about you.
* * * *
Is there a more useless traffic light in Hamilton Township than the one on the corner of White Horse Road and Cypress Lane. It’s just after the YMCA/police station light and just before Killarney’s if you’re heading toward Klockner.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop at that light while waiting for absolutely no one coming out of the side street. Then I have to wait another 15 seconds while the left traffic signal on the other side allows no one to make the left because no one is there.
C’mon folks, this is the 21st century. Can’t we give these lights the ability to function based on the traffic that is there?
* * * *
Here’s something I wonder. In the three major sports that have seven-game playoff formats, no NBA team has ever come back to win a series down 3-0. Only one has ever done it in baseball (and oh, how I loved that one), but four have done it in hockey, including two in the last four years when the Kings came back against San Jose last month.
Why is that?
The only thing I can think of is that a hockey goalie, more than any other individual position in sports, is the biggest difference maker. More than a quarterback and more than a pitcher. Especially a pitcher, whose contributions are limited to once every five days.
A hot goalie can not only prevent a team from scoring, it can get in the heads of both teams. The team with the goalie starts to believe more in themselves, while the team being stymied starts to wonder. The momentum can switch quickly and then take off.
So is that the reason?
Nope. It’s just my theory.
And I only watch hockey during the playoffs, so consider the source!
* * * *
The Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame Dinner was held a few weeks ago and the event continues to be one of the great banquets in the area.
The close-knit bond developed by soccer players in Mercer over the years is always so evident at the dinner, as some of the greatest to ever play the game swap stories that insult and revere all at once. Charlie Inverso and Harold “Bird” Fink are the greatest emcee team around, and Rick “The Voice” Taylor and his sidekick Jeff make sure no one goes thirsty. This year, former Hamilton standouts Joe Hankins and John Carmignani both gave impressive speeches.
* * * *
This just in. . .Roger Goodell plans on running the NFL Draft from March 1 to July 30. One team will make one pick each day, and every pick will be televised for 2 hours on the NFL Network and ESPN. This will usually happen at the same time NBA and NHL playoff games are going on.
I really don’t think the NFL will be happy until it drives the memory of MLB, NBA and NHL from the minds of all Americans. Its becoming their world, and we just live in it.
Mar. 12 2014
in to U.S. Soccer
Hall of Fame
Mar. 12: A little less than two weeks ago, former Princeton University player and head coach Bob Bradley, who went on to international fame as U.S. and Egyptian National team coach, was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Hamilton Township native Charlie Inverso, now head coach at Rider University, coached under Bradley at Princeton and is a close friend with the North Jersey product. Inverso was kind enough to provide his thoughts on Bradley’s induction, and what he means to soccer in general.
Bob Bradley’s induction is a pretty fitting tribute to a man who has won a Major League Soccer title, took the United States to a Confederations Cup final and, in 2010, advanced the US to the second round of the World Cup.
But this recognition of Bob is about more than tangible accomplishments. Bradley’s passion for the game, his undying interest in the growth of the sport in this country and the lives of people that he touched along the way make him a no brainer choice.
I am fortunate to have called Bob my good friend for the past 30 years. I first met him when he became Princeton University’s head coach in 1984. I had been an assistant at the university for four years previously and when Bradley replaced Bill Muse he decided to retain me on his staff as the JV coach and goalkeeper coach.
The only thing he said to me was “Everyone told me that you are in it for all the right reasons and that’s enough for me.’ So began my friendship with one of the most influential coach’s that the US has ever had.
Bradley, easily one of the smartest men that I know, could have been a success in law, politics, medicine…you name it. But his heart was firmly entrenched in teaching, watching, talking and living soccer 24 hours a day.
He tried six months of working in sales for Proctor and Gamble but that experiment was about as big of a disaster as if Fish4scores founder Rich Fisher tried to become a Chippendale dancer. God put BB on this earth to coach soccer players and make other soccer coaches better.
Sometimes I cringe when I think about how much money Bob could have made running soccer camps or overcharging kids for individual lessons. But soccer was NEVER about money to him. It was always about the game, the people he met along the way and forming relationships.
He was more content to drive all over New Jersey with the legendary Manny Schellscheidt in their matching beat-up Volkswagen’s to conduct a non-paying clinic for youth coaches then he was beefing up his bank account. For the longest time, people couldn’t figure him out.
Why would a guy with a Princeton degree work for free six nights a week coaching 12 year olds; setting up pick-up games wherever he and Manfred could find nice grass; or driving his 8 year old son from suburban DC to Penn State so that Michael could get in a competitive 5-aside?
Because he was in it for “all the right reasons."
One trait of a successful person is being a risk taker. For otherwise conservative people, Bob and his wife Lyndsay are definitely risk takers. Bob left a comfortable job at Princeton to become an assistant in the then fledgling MLS.
Even after his team DC United won the MLS championship people still told him he was crazy. Crazy enough to take an expansion Chicago Fire team and win the MLS Cup Championship and crazy enough to allow his then-16 year old son to skip college to sign with MLS and play on his squad with the Metrostars.
He was unfazed, despite not being the top choice to coach the US National team, and led America to a Gold Cup Championship. There were victories over several world powers, including No. 1 ranked Spain, as the U.S. advanced to the second round of the World Cup.
(Current Princeton U. coach) Jim Barlow and I were in his office in Los Angeles two days after he was fired by US Soccer. We saw his pain, frustration and emptiness and we wondered what would be his next stop. Would it be back to the MLS or maybe college?
Well, faster than you can say Land of Pharoahs, BB was back coaching. This time it would be the unenviable task of leading the Egyptian National team. The stories of how Bradley, through soccer, united this country of political unrest and became a national celebrity in this venerable country became known world-wide.
Still, for a guy who is a risk taker you cannot find a more conservative, throw back kind of man. He is as throw back as Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr.
In an era when it is more fashionable for coaches to win over fans and media by being witty and charming, he thrives on being honest and often times blunt. He is one of the few guys I know who not only looks you right in the eye when talking but pauses and thinks before he opens his mouth.
More importantly, he is actually interested in what you have to say. Someone has described a conversation with him as “when you talk to Bob he makes you feel like you are the only person in the room”. And while many who know him well have said after a talk with Bradley you realize “how little you know about the game of soccer”, you always finish a conversation with him feeling better about yourself.
I have witnessed him talk at length to hundreds of people, most of whom could do nothing to advance his career, but merely wanted to pick his brain and learn more about soccer. I can only imagine how many hours and how many missed meals his lovely wife Lyndsay has accumulated while waiting for her highly-in-demand husband.
Somewhere along the way he found the time to develop the most important player on the US National team over the past four years, his son Michael.
Michael, who already ranks as one of the top five players ever produced in the US learned everything he knows from the guy who was also the best man in his wedding, Throwback Bob. And while the family has had to endure countless barbs of nepotism from ignorant fans, Michael has put all of that ridiculous rhetoric to bed by becoming the player the US national team can least afford to lose.
Did I say that friendship and relationships are important to him? In June of 2009, our family celebrated a once in a lifetime moment as our son CJ was selected to light the torch at the Special Olympics.
I sent out an email to family and close friends detailing the events of that memorable night.
The first response I got was from Bob Bradley. He was in South Africa preparing for the Confederations Cup which is a selection of the best national teams and Cup winners in the world.
He was en route to practice to prepare the United States to take on No. 1 Spain.
In typical Bradley style, while using an outdated Blackberry he did not just punch in “COOL”. He proceeded to type out two paragraphs on that annoying hand held devise about how proud my wife Lynne and I should be of our son.
There was nothing written about him and what he was doing because, to put it simply, Bob gets it and he gets people. That is why he is a great coach.
Bob is currently in Norway in his new role in another ground breaking capacity. He is the coach of Stade and the first American to coach in a foreign first division league. There is no doubt he is already making a difference and has brought excitement to the small first division club.
My sincerest congratulations go out to Bob for being named to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. You’re in it for all the right reasons.
But we already knew that.
Feb. 28, 2014
You’re a good man,
Feb. 28: Well here’s a nice story I’m happy to share.
Not quite as nice as me winning the million dollar lottery, but hey it, I’ll share it anyway.
After Thursday night’s CVC basketball banquet, Hightstown Athletic Director Gary Bushelli was driving out of the Mercer Oaks parking lot when he saw an Oaks employee walking out to Village Road in the freezing cold. And when I tell you it was freezing cold, I’m probably understating it.
Bushelli stopped and asked the guy why he was walking. He said he had to go catch his bus home. Bushelli asked where the bus stop was and he told him it was at Quakerbridge Mall.
We’re talking what would be at least a 45-minute walk, maybe more, in bitter freezing cold, just to catch a bus. Bushelli asked the guy where he lived, the guy told him, and Bushelli put him in his car and took him home.
Despite the fact that made Bushelli late for our post-banquet gathering, I could not have been more impressed by that act of generosity. All I ever really want to do is bust Bush’s chops. I love the guy but praising him is not in my DNA.
But Bush Man, you deserve all the credit in the world. That’s as generous and as nice it gets. Well done!
* * *
As nice as that story was, here’s one at the other end of the spectrum.
Hamilton West senior Claudia Olsen, who never got to compete in winter track until this year when the township re-instated it, promptly qualified for the Meet of Champions in her first season ever doing high jump.
So what happens? She returns from a class trip to Key Largo and at practice Thursday she broke her wrist in two spots and also broke her elbow.
“I landed on the mat with my arm behind my back, and when I came down I heard it crack and break,” Olsen said.
That folks, is absolutely brutal and pretty damn sad.
Good luck Claudia. Get better for spring track quickly!
* * *
Speaking of the CVC basketball banquet. . .kudos to Jay “D-2” Malloy. The third-year Hamilton West boys’ coach was named the Coach of the Year and there probably wasn’t a person there who disagreed with it.
However, Malloy needs to work on his speech technique a bit. He walked up, grabbed his plaque and turned around and walked back. The presenter yelled “Don’t you want to say anything?” He was nearly back to his table and yelled “Thanks!” . . .then five seconds later said “I owe it all to my players.”
For folks who wanted the night to move along quickly, you couldn’t have gotten a better speech (Right, Courtney Adams? Lol) .
* * *
To Lauren Kelly, Kristin Jacobs and Erin Wolverton, I must say, I don’t care who didn’t show up! It was awesome hanging with you guys at the post-banquet!
* * *
Also at the CVC banquet – GQ Award of the Night goes to Tevin “No Look” Williams who was styling with his red shirt and white bow tie.
* * *
Congrats to former Princeton University player and coach Bob Bradley for being inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame. Bob is a unique guy who is fascinating to talk to. His take on things is always thoughtful and unique, be it soccer or life in general.
Bradley comes from an extremely successful family, as his brother Scott played in the Major Leagues and now coaches Princeton, and his other brother Michael is a nationally renowned sports writer.
I met their dad a few years ago while he was watching grandson Kevin Bradley play baseball for Hopewell, and you would have never known he had such talented offspring.
It’s great to see humbleness still exists, and this honor for Bob is well deserved.
* * *
I really need to thank Angela LaBelle for her help in tweet updates this year.
First off, I thank all the hoop parents who helped me out – the Adams, the Kellys, Frank “52-49” Bennett. I seriously appreciate it. I know it’s a pain in the neck watching your kid play and then saying “Oh cripe, I gotta send Fish a text.”
And yet you did it and I soooo thank you for it, and I know all the Fish4scores twitter followers appreciate it. You are the unsung heroes.
But Angela gets the “extra mile” award. Ang texted me the updates of the Steinert boys games, and about 75 percent of the time they went down to the wire or into overtime.
Ang didn’t just update the final score. She would send updates every timeout during the closing minutes, including things like “Plunkett jumper ties it” or something like that. I wrote actual stories off what she sent.
It was great stuff Mrs. LaBelle. I guess we need to thank Frank as well, for leaving you alone to do your "job." I’m just glad Chris is a freshman. No good deed goes unpunished my friend! You’re stuck for three more years!
However, as far as post-banquet gatherings go, the LaBelles and Garcias dropped the ball. They are now on double-secret probation unless they show up at Texas Roadhouse on one Athlete of the Week Sunday and keep me company!
* * *
I say this every year and I will say it again. The Colonial Valley Conference is blessed to have Jimmy Hines running the show at Mercer Oaks.
The former Notre Dame soccer standout not only provides reasonable prices for athletic banquets, he and his staff put on an outstanding event. There are never any glitches, everything runs exactly according to plan and the food is always good.
Keep up the great work Jimmy. You are the best!
* * *
While I’m thanking people, I just want to acknowledge outgoing Steinert girls’ soccer coach Aimee Turnbull for being such an easy person to deal with over the years. Whether Steinert won or lost, played good or played bad, Aimee was always cooperative and pleasant in post-game interviews.
Evidently she is the same way as a guidance counselor, as several parents praised Aimee on Facebook for her work with their kids.
So thanks Aimee, and enjoy your time with the family!
* * *
Is Derek Jeter retiring? No one seems to be reporting on it at all, except to ad nauseum. I want to puke it’s so over the top.
* * *
People live for them.
What am I missing here?
* * *
Creighton-Wichita State NCAA championship game? Cool!
* * *
Speaking of the NCAA, I have reached the point where I may literally flip a coin for every pick in my pool and see how that works out. Can’t be any worse than usual.
Maybe that will be my strategy for Warren Bufffet's pool. Use a quarter to make a billion.
Feb 14, 2014
sure can make
Feb. 14: I don’t think it was a good idea for Johnny Manziel to say what you are about to read.
But I love what he said.
Read it first and then I’ll explain. It’s the Texas A&M quarterback talking to two Texas newspaper reporters about his home-state Houston Texans, and what it would mean for them to not make Manziel the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. He went on to add what would happen if Jacksonville took him with the No. 3 pick.
“It would be the worst decision they’ve ever made,” Manziel said, while talking to reporters from the Houston Chronicle and Fort-Worth Star Telegram. “I’d be in the same division playing against them twice a year (with Jacksonville). Sorry, but you just turned that chip on my shoulder from a Frito into a Dorito.
“I want them to say absolutely, without a doubt, with 100 percent certainty, that I’m who they want. I want everybody from the janitor at Reliant Stadium to the front office executive assistant all the way up to (owner) Bob McNair to say, ‘This kid is 100 percent, can’t miss. This is who we want being the face of our program. We want the Texas kid staying in Texas and leading the Texans.’”
A 20-year-old pretty much calling out a team that has watched closely since childhood.
The kneejerk reaction is “Who does he think he is? Who is this punk, who has never taken a snap in the NFL, to tell a team to take him? To make threats in such bold predictions?”
Obviously, a kid whose confidence is even higher than I ever suspected. And I always suspected it was pretty high.
First off, I love that “Frito into Dorito” line. Wish I had used that in a story at some point in my life, but never did. Not sure if he made it up. But I like it.
Now, consider how boring Roger Goodell wants all his minions to be. It’s the one aspect of his own life he doesn’t feel the need to corner the market on. He wants everyone to be dull like him.
Now consider you have a kid like this shooting his mouth off in a very, very pointed way before he even gets to the league. He could drive Goodell nuts! And that, I like. Goodell might mute him and make him boring, but I’ll take my chances.
This is quite a gamble by Manziel, of course. These words will likely dog him into draft day and beyond. He has put himself out there for severe humiliation. In that same interview he went on to say he wanted to become the first rookie quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
Every bad throw he makes, every bad game he has, those words will haunt him. Then again, every big game he has, announcers will remind us “He’s a confident young man, as we all know from what he said before the draft.”
Linebackers who sack him will repeat those words as he lays smooshed on the ground beneath him. Richard Sherman. . . .oh God, what would Richard Sherman say?
This could make Johnny Football a major joke in the annals of football. Or it could make him the next Joe Namath and then some.
Either way, I love it! It’s refreshing to see someone talk this boldly about himself. He makes me think I really want him to do what he says.
Others disagree, of course. Children should be seen and not heard. Yeah, right. The last time that happened Beaver and Wally were saving up for their first baseball gloves.
Young guys have said similar things before, but man, when you actually bring up the janitor at Reliant Stadium, that’s just darn good stuff!
* * * *
When Richard Nixon lied about a break-in it was bad but it didn’t affect me personally. When Bill Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky, it was tacky, but my life went on as usual.
One had to resign, the other was impeached.
Barack Obama has lied about Obamacare. I know, because I’m being forced to switch to it and I am discovering I won’t have the same doctor or specialists I’ve had for years. That’s just the tip of what’s wrong.
Now I am affected, in a very adverse way.
This isn’t funny. It’s sad and scary.
Not just for me, but for a whole lot of patients and people in the medical profession. One billing woman told me as I was trying to figure it all out “they are trying to dictate where people go for their health care.” I’m not going into specifics because you probably don’t care. But this all came to light today so I’m in a venting mood. For those of you in my situation, you know of what I speak and can relate.
All I know is, when someone lies like this guy has, I hope he gets punished like the other two did. Only more severely, because now we are affected.
* * * *
After last week’s blog on the Beatles, our good buddy Bird “Farkas” Fink has requested an Ants reunion. OK Bird, I’ll see if I can get the lads together! Pretty sure the air guitars and drums still work.
* * * *
Ever since NCAA pools came into vogue, I always said if there were such things as time machines and I was given one trip in either direction, I’d get in on March 1 and set it for April 7 of that same year.
I would then get out, check the internet and fill in the first perfect NCAA pool in world history. Folks scoffed at that, saying that was small-change thinking and that I should look at the stock market and clean up.
My feeling was, I’d make a fortune in all the talk shows I would go on, explaining how I did this. I would lie about how I did it of course. Not only that, people would just think you were cool.
Well now, if I do it. I’ll get a billion dollars! That’s what Warren Buffet is offering to anyone who fills out a perfect NCAA pool. So I would get the billion, plus whatever I made on talk shows. Hell, I could actually own a talk show at that point.
But there are no time machines, and I’m pretty sure despite the added incentive of a billion dollars, I’ll probably come up a little short of perfect again this year.
Which is why I kind of laugh at Mr. Buffet’s offer. I forget what they call the actual number, but the odds are a 1 followed by 17 zeros-to-1 that this can be done. At the track, 17-to-1 odds are a long shot. This is a marathon-shot.
I respect and admire Mr. Buffet, but what the hell! I can be a big man too. I’m offering 2 billion dollars to anyone who fills out the first perfect NCAA pool in history!
Can I make good on that payment? Of course not.
But I’m pretty sure that’s one offer that will never have to be paid out, until Mr. Spock actually becomes a college basketball fan.
Feb, 9, 2014
Feb. 9: Forgive the trip down memory lane, but after watching the Grammy Beatles special tonight I just have to get it out of my system.
Yes, I saw them on Ed Sullivan that first night, in a little living room in a little Cape Cod house on Andrea Lane in Mercerville.
I was freaking out, so was my mom, and my World War II veteran dad just didn't get it.
The next day I sprinted to Mercerville School to share the experience with my classmates about what we all saw. We were freaking out, buzzing like maniacs. Our teacher Mrs. Arndt had to tell us to be quiet like, a million times.
We were only in first grade and I still remember it vividly. It’s like the clearest memory I have that young (except for getting spanked). That’s a powerful presence.
A year later, me and my pals – all of second grade now – decided we were going to form a group called The Ants. Clever huh? The extent of our musical ability was that we put on Beatles albums and did air guitar and air drums before anybody else.
Shockingly, the Beatles lasted a bit longer than The Ants.
Not only could we not conquer America, we couldn’t even conquer Regina Avenue.
The Beatles, however, will last forever.
They could have very easily been a one-year fad, or craze, like so many others have been. Come over to the U.S., cause a sensation with their songs about love and holding hands, and then just pop up on oldies stations – “Oh yeah, they were that band with the long hair that went ‘wooooh’!”
But they matured, their music matured and they have written some of the greatest songs of all time beyond the realm of rock music. Their time as a group lasted through my time in elementary school.
That’s only six years.
And an impact that has lasted for 50.
By the time I got to Nottingham Junior High, Jimmy Hendryx, Janis Joplin, the Doors and Three Dog Night were the main bands. And we liked them.
But The Beatles never got out of our system. Ever. And after watching the special tonight, I’m feeling pretty good that we’re not alone.
It blows my mind that young kids love this band that hasn’t played together in 44 years. It shouldn’t but it does, because none of us ever want to like the music of earlier generations. We want to like OUR music and to heck with what came before.
To me and my pals from Mercerville School – Greg Edwards, Bob and Jack DeStefano, to name a few -- the Beatles will always be our music because it was the only thing we knew growing up other than nursery rhymes and, of course, the Monkees and Rolling Stones.
We like other music as well, but we kind of feel a pride that so many generations after us still love The Beatles. It’s like, we feel they are ours because we had the good fortune of being on the ground floor of our lives when they were on the ground floor of becoming a dynasty.
A lot of adults thought The Beatles would come and go back in the 1960s. They never dreamed that 50 years later a phenomenal special would be shown celebrating their arrival in America.
That right there tells you how special they are. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a two-and-a-half hour anniversary special for Beethoven or Mozart; Sinatra or Crosby; Elvis or Chuck Berry. But there they were, people who weren’t even born during the first Ed Sullivan appearance, performing Beatles songs with pride.
And when Ringo was singing his solos, I loved watching Paul McCartney sitting in the crowd, singing along as if he was just some schlub who bought a ticket to watch the show.
Friends and I were texting back and forth all night, getting more sentimental and more amazed each 15 minutes at how good this show was.
It made me want to get up and write this blog right away.
And damn if I don’t feel like running to Mercerville School tomorrow and talking to everybody about the show.
Fifty years later, some things never change.