Now in his second year as head coach of Mepham’s boys’ soccer team, coach Zachary Gosse feels his team is on the cusp of reaching its full potential as a legitimate county championship contender.
Sitting at 5-3-2 in Conference A1 (6-3-3 overall), the Pirates have already clinched a playoff spot, an achievement that eluded them a season ago. But the team has shown tremendous growth from year-to-year, and Gosse said that with a little bit more consistent play, that the sky is the limit, especially considering the team fields just one senior in its starting lineup.
“They’ve really been able to improve as a team, and as individuals too,” said Gosse, who underwent a career change as a former consultant in Manhattan to pursue a teaching career in his late 20s, and latched on in the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District a year ago.
“We are a pretty young team,” Gosse continued. “We’ve really improved in having the confidence to play the way we want to play with young players. They’re not intimidated and they’re not afraid to go at other teams.”
The lone starting senior is co-captain and defensive center midfielder Jack Zaretsky, a stabilizing force and leader who contributes on both side of the field. “He really protects the back four,” said Gosse, noting that Zaretsky has logged five assists. “He breaks up the counter attacks from the other team. He’ll win a tackle at midfield to get us started.”
Leading the offensive threat for the Pirates is junior co-captain Andrew Weiner, an all-county forward whose nine goals have already matched his total from a year ago. “He’s a player that can create something out of absolutely nothing,” Gosse said. “Watching him create things, it’s like, how did this kid do this? You can make an argument for him being the best forward in Nassau County. He’s very special.”
The team has already registered four shutouts this season. And while a few of those wins were preserved by clutch saves from junior keeper Louis Luparello, Gosse said it’s the strength of his middle-of-the-field players that drives its defensive efforts. “They’re the spine of the team,” he said, singling out the physicality of center back Chris Cossu, and the versatility of center midfielder Harry Davila, who has three goals this season. “He’s going to go box-to-box for you the whole game,” Gosse said of Davila. “He’s a workhorse.”
Other key contributors on the offensive side include Gaetano Parisi, with four goals, and juniors Conor Buehler and Kieran Gilroy, with three goals apiece.
The Pirates will wrap the regular season at home against Jericho on Thursday. And while his squad is capable of tying a bow on its successful season with a deep playoff run, Gosse said the rapid growth of his young players and the success it can translate to has him most excited.
“With another year of developing,” Gosse said, “these guys are definitely capable of going very deep in the playoffs and challenging for a county championship.”