It’s not often that a team loses its coach to higher education. But that’s what’s happened to the Rye Garnets:
By Mitch Silver
It’s not often that a team loses its coach to higher education. But that’s what’s happened to the Rye Garnets: their longtime mentor Jared Small enrolled this fall as a first-year student at Harvard Law School.
I asked new head coach Sal Curella, who served as Small’s assistant a year ago, what sort of law his friend hopes to practice. “Social Justice…what else?” he replied. Curella was obliquely referring to the program Coach Small instituted, through which Rye High “adopted” Yonkers High as their brother school, holding soccer clinics and sharing equipment with their less-advantaged neighbors.
That neighborliness apparently doesn’t extend to another Yonkers school, Gorton High. In their season opener, played at Tibbetts Brook Park, the Garnets ran roughshod over their non-league opponents, piling up a 9-0 victory on a hat trick of goals and four assists by senior Will Colwell, along with two goals and an assist by fellow co-captain Leo Gomes.
Notwithstanding the rout, Curella — who played center back for four winning seasons at SUNY Buffalo before taking up coaching — has a lot of work to do with the Garnet back line, if Rye is to advance through the playoffs…or even get there. Stalwart Jackson Kligerman has graduated. So have fellow defenders Peter Sims, Patrick Condon, and José Sosa, as well as goalkeeper Johnny Emanuel.
“We lost 13 players in all. So we’ll move sophomore Carl Friedrich from the outside to the center of defense and work them there,” he told me. “We’re still going to play the same high-pressure style of play, and I’m looking for our midfielders to help mark the runners coming through. Fortunately, we have senior Owen Moore to step up in goal.”
It would be an easier plan to execute had the Garnets not lost two young players to U.S. Development Academy. Junior Johnny Amaya and sophomore Shota Takizawa both started last year. Still, Colwell and Jon DiPalma are back to solidify the center of the field while Gomes and Tommy Gates bring speed to the attack.
Rye won a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over Eastchester Tuesday on the strength of a Leo Gomes goal. Twenty-four hours later, post-press time, they faced another non-league foe at home in White Plains. They’ll host Nyack under the lights September 12 at 6.