As 2019 comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on the year that was for soccer in New England.
To wrap up the calendar year, New England Soccer Journal‘s editorial staff has selected 20 of our top pieces from the past year. They aren’t necessarily our most-read stories, but form a collection across a wide variety of subjects.
Each story is linked below, and this entire piece is available for every reader to check out what NESJ covers. If you’re interested in subscribing, more information can be found here.
Let’s get underway:
Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, we profiled the U.S. women’s national team’s two locals: goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (Stratford, Conn.) and midfielder Samantha Mewis (Weymouth, Mass.). The tournament ended with the USWNT’s second straight World Cup title, and it’s worth checking out the Naeher feature again.
Our September 2019 cover story went in-depth with Boston College freshman midfielder Amos Shapiro-Thompson (Worthington, Mass.), namely about his choice to return home from several years in Europe. The former Milton Academy and New England Revolution Academy standout opened up about life at Dinamo Zagreb, Legia Warsaw and more.
Months before Bayside FC’s new facility in East Providence, R.I., was announced, we featured the club’s longstanding success in the club soccer world. John Mark Andrade, Bayside’s president, took us behind the curtain on how they’ve helped to develop several professionals.
BB&N’s shining moment
The path to a championship is seldom straightforward, and NEPSAC Class A winners Buckingham Browne & Nichols experienced that in spades in 2019. As part of our Winter 2019-20 magazine, Mike Zhe explored how the Knights have turned into a premier program under head coach Graeme Blackman.
Injuries have hampered the last half-year for Revolution Academy goalkeeper Eliot Jones (New Britain, Conn.), but he remains an exciting Homegrown Player prospect for the MLS club. Before his injury troubles, our Spring 2019 cover story explored his rapid rise through the youth soccer world.
Gabby Del Pico
Before becoming one of the top young talents in the Ivy League, we profiled then-NEFC standout Gabby Del Pico (Brockton, Mass.). She was a top player in the Development Academy, paving the way for a smooth transition to Harvard.
A record-breaking year at Amherst saw sophomore forward German Giammattei named the Division III National Player of the Year, even though the Mammoths fell just short of their second national title. As part of our November edition, we profiled Giammattei and what makes him so dangerous.
As most NESJ readers know, we extensively cover prep school soccer. Of dozens of stories this past fall, we explored the growing depth and parity in the Independent School League, which is home to many of New England’s top up-and-comers. The 2019 title was eventually won by Milton Academy over Nobles on the final regular-season match day.
Nancy Feldman on recruiting
The youth soccer world largely centers around getting recruited to played in college, and Nancy Feldman (Needham, Mass.), head coach of the Boston University women’s team, offered some incisive comments about the process. She’s been at BU for a quarter century, so serves as a voice of record on the subject matter.
Neil Roberts retires
A flurry of head coaching changes in the Greater Boston area arrived before Thanksgiving, and we had an exclusive interview with outgoing Boston University boss Neil Roberts (Braintree, Mass.). He discussed his 40-year career with the Terriers, next steps and more.
One of the region’s brightest Development Academy prospects suits up for Oakwood, and midfielder Pearse O’Brien (West Hartford, Conn.) could soon be in a residential set-up. To learn more about the youngster’s pathway, check out our November 2019 feature.
Rennicks at U-20 World Cup
When the FIFA U-20 World Cup rolled around last summer, the inclusion of Revolution homegrown forward Justin Rennicks (South Hamilton, Mass.) marked the first time a local player represented the United States since 2009. We covered Rennicks’ experience, but also delved into the historical nature of Rennicks’ moment on the world stage.
Revolution Training Center
The New England Revolution unveiled their new training ground – 1776 Revolution Way – in early December, and we have a broader story about the facility’s significance for the club. It represents a major investment from owners/operators Robert and Jonathan Kraft, and should be a transformative element for the first team and academy.
January always brings about the MLS SuperDraft, and the 2019 version again saw a New Englander picked high up the board when midfielder Siad Haji (Manchester, N.H.) went No. 2 overall to the San Jose Earthquakes. Ahead of Haji’s big moment, we went in-depth on his journey from Somalia to the pros.
The wintertime allows for some off-the-beaten path stories, and one arrived via Spain. We profiled Todd Beane‘s (Winchester, Mass.) efforts with the TOVO Institute in Barcelona, where he takes great inspiration from the late Johan Cruyff.
Tufts wins (again)
One of the biggest local stories of the entire decade, not just 2019, was the continued rise of the Tufts men’s soccer team. We had an in-depth game story as the Jumbos beat Amherst in the Division 3 national final, but also highlighted the career of winger Gavin Tasker (Concord, Mass.) as part of an incredible senior class.
UNH’s rise under Marc Hubbard
After finding great success at Southern New Hampshire, Marc Hubbard (Durham, N.H.) has engineered the rise of his hometown program. Our November 2019 cover story explored what’s behind Hubbard’s rise in the college coaching world and the Wildcats’ three straight NCAA tournament appearances.
Yale’s reclamation project
In five short years, head coach Kylie Stannard has lifted the Yale men’s soccer program from the Ivy League’s cellar to the conference’s pedestal. Wrestling the Ivy League’s peak away from from Dartmouth is no small feat, and Stannard walked us through what’s propelled the turnaround in New Haven, Conn.
Worcester Academy’s long wait
After more than 100 years a program – and in the 20th year with head coach James Proctor at the helm – Worcester Academy won its first NEPSAC Class A title. Our Winter 2019-20 magazine had the Hilltoppers’ triumph on the cover, with perspective on the monumental moment in Worcester.
Zach Herivaux’s next step
When Zach Herivaux (Brookline, Mass.) wasn’t re-signed by the Revolution ahead of the 2020 season, it marked the first time a Homegrown player departed the club. Frank Dell’Apa had an interview with the local midfielder, whose next step will aim to carve out a continued role with Haiti’s national team.