Boys Soccer hungry for NEC title


Mark Elliot Graham

Captain Almeida and Gino Tripoli celebrate a late equalizer in their preseason scrimmage against Manchester-Essex

ANDREW COELHO, Sports Writer

With the GHS boys soccer team returning from a very successful season last fall, they are optimistic about the potential this team has. Last year only 2 seniors graduated and with key players returning, Gloucester is looking to make some noise in the NEC this year.

Finishing 8-2 last fall, Gloucester boys were the undisputed NEC South Champions finishing with the best record in the South, although due to COVID-19 were not crowned champions. Coming back even hungrier with a very strong senior class, they hope to qualify and make a run in the MIAA Division 3 Tournament (also not held last year due to COVID). 

They are led by senior captains Max Sperry, Andrew Coelho, Jack Patten, and Aidan Almeida. Three out of the four captains are returning, which plays an important role in team chemistry. 

With Sperry in net, Gloucester already looks strong in defense with the 6’2’’ senior starting in net for his third year of varsity soccer. With a wing span of 6’6’’, combined with Sperry’s agility and quick reaction time, he has established himself as arguably the best goalie in the conference. 

In front of Sperry, the defense is led by 4 year starter Jack Patten. Patten was named an NEC All-Star as a sophomore and had a difficult season last fall adapting to the newly enforced COVID rules because of his physicality and aggression. Coming off a hamstring injury, Patten has been looking better than ever this pre-season and has the IQ and athleticism to be matched up against anyone in the NEC. 

First year captain Aidan Almeida has found his spot as an attacking wingback this year, where he will be one of Gloucester’s most important players on both sides of the ball. Starting as a center back last year, Almeida has the defensive ability to be in the back line but has the attacking instinct that will catch lots of teams off guard. 

Coming off a strong junior season, Andrew Coelho is returning to the middle of the field in an attempt at controlling the midfield and facilitating play. A first team All-State player, Coelho is looking to continue this success and hopes to make a deep playoff run. 

Gloucester also has a strong core of returning players with junior Kayky Barbosa and sophomore Gino Tripoli looking to have breakout seasons this year. There are nine seniors this year, with six of them in the starting lineup. Keith Horne will be starting at defensive mid in his first season as a starter along with Daniel Hafey who will start at center back, his second year as a starter. 

Yuniel Sanchez Batis and Geremy Palacios are also 2 very important returning players with Batis helping control the midfield and Palacios offering another strong attacking threat. Sophomore Brendan Anderton has had a very impressive pre-season and looks to start as a 2-way player at left back. 

“A lot of us have been teammates for almost three years now. Our team chemistry is great and we are moving quickly into mid-season form, Captain Jack Patten said. “I’m confident we will be able to take down any team that stands in our way.” 

Captain Almeida also had positive remarks when speaking about the team: “This year we’ve got a lot of returning upperclassmen perfectly mixed with great young talent,” he said.  “We’re going to be an entertaining team to come and watch. We have the potential to be one of the best teams in GHS history.”

Gloucester is looking to do big things this year and they have their season opener today against Saugus at 4:30pm on their new turf field. (weather permitting)

Their home opener is against Danvers on Tuesday, September 14 at Newell Stadium at 6:30pm, we hope to see you all there!