The Huntington varsity boys’ soccer team is coming off the program’s first outright league championship in 28 years. Head coach John Pagano hopes to keep the momentum going this fall.
The Blue Devils compiled an overall record of 12-3-2 last year, exceeding every expectation. Coming into the 2017 season unranked, Huntington went on to win the Suffolk League III title with a 9-1-2 record.
The Blue Devils are returning All-Conference players John Tucker (defense), Alex Rivera (midfield) and Eren Aydin (midfield). The trio of exceptional athletes are among seven starters from last fall’s squad that are coming back for Huntington. The group is expected to help the team contend for the Suffolk championship.
Blue Devil boys' soccer varsity head coach John Pagano. (Darin Reed photo.)
Tyler Abedin, Christian Bellissimo, Oscar Cordova Parada, Carmine De Ieso, Junior Flores, Cristian Garay Araujo, John Langton, Luke Luckow, Luis Ortiz Colato, Kolby Rappel, Julien Rentsch, Carlos Reyes-Villalta, Manuel Reyes-Villalta, Edwin Rodriquez, Juan Salamanca, Nicholas Thompson and Jose Turcios-Garay are also returning, giving Pagano a team filled with experience.
Some of the players from last fall’s splendid junior varsity squad will also be vying for a promotion to the varsity team. The season gets underway with practice on Monday, August 20. An early morning scrimmage is planned with Harborfields on August 29 followed by a multi-team scrimmage with Kings Park and Rocky Point the following day.
Huntington’s first game is set for Saturday, September 1 at Bellport at 10 a.m. The first home game will be played on Tuesday, September 4 against North Babylon at 4:30 p.m.
Pagano has been named League Coach of the Year Award in three of the past four seasons. He will field some great players, including Tucker, a fierce competitor and Aydin, a creative midfielder who led Huntington with six goals and four assists last fall.
The varsity team’s head coach since 2001, Pagano owns a lifetime record of 142-128-27 in 17 seasons. He moved past the Blue Devils’ founding boys’ soccer coach, Wade Lange on Huntington’s all-time win list last fall. Lange went 130-55-16 during the 13 seasons that stretched from 1961-1973.
George Hiscox, who took over from Lange and coached 23 years through the 1996 season is atop the program’s all-time wins list with a mark of 204-143-42. Paul Amato (1997-2000) was sandwiched between Hiscox and Pagano, compiling a 24-32-6 record over four seasons.