Seniors Carried Boys' Soccer Team To Unforgettable, Unbeaten Season
With the conclusion of fall high school athletics, a season like no other has come and gone. Even through the difficulties and coronavirus regulations, champions were crowned and senior seasons completed. For the senior-packed Newtown High School boys’ soccer team, their championship season full of memories meant a little more than just soccer.
This Nighthawk team consisted of 15 seniors, the bulk of whom have been playing together since youth, and couldn’t be happier to complete their careers together on a high note after winning the South-West Conference North Championship against New Milford 4-1.
“It honestly feels great because coming into this no one really knew when we were going to get stopped. I mean we had senior night at our first game. To be able to get this far with 15 seniors, and all of them getting in tonight and playing, felt great playing alongside them. They are like my brothers,” senior captain Tanner Trede said on November 14, after that win over New Milford.
The Nighthawks were also led by three other senior captains: Jack Petersen, Ryan Ruddy, and Tyler Grosso under the direction of first year Head Coach Ryan Lyddy. In addition to playing together in youth, the core of this team was previously coached by Lyddy in Newtown travel soccer, and carried success all the way to the varsity field.
“The relationship that we have with Coach Lyddy — he was our travel coach in eighth grade, and to reunite with him — we just clicked immediately and we just knew that it was going to be special,” Grosso said.
Lyddy is the fourth high school coach that this team has had in their four years in the NHS soccer program, but the seniors have nothing but respect and gratitude for the first-year Newtown coach who was previously the head coach at Fairfield Prep.
“It was hard with all of the different coaches coming in because they all have different playing styles, but we really gelled with him and he really knew us and how we played, and it really worked out fantastic,” Trede said.
"We're trying to build more of a program than an individual squad," said Lyddy, who is assisted by coaches Adam Bourret and Stephen Conway.
Brandon Akbas, Tanner Trede, Tyler DiMartino, Adem Selmani, Gianluca Cacho, Sam Edwards, Aidan Hall, Julio Hernandez, Jasin Kodzodziku, Ryan Poupon, and Luke Steimel are seniors who were a part of this championship run.
“Our whole motto this year has been ‘welcome to the rebuild’ so we really just wanted to leave a foundation that these guys can continue to build on,” Kunzweiler said.
This last season for the seniors began with another new coach, but quickly turned into something amazing and unforgettable. Next year, the program will have all of those spots to fill, but the 2020-21 senior class has ensured that that it will leave the program headed in the right direction.