This will be a season of change for the Shoreham-Wading River High School boys soccer team. Not only will the Wildcats play home games on their new Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field, but they will do so with a team that lost, believe it or not, no less than 15 seniors from last year’s squad.
Ouch! That hurts.
And for one of the Wildcats, Kyle Tingo, there is the added change of a new position.
Tingo, the team’s sole returning starter, is being moved from outside back to sweeper, replacing All-Conference Kieran Clasen.
“As a defender, you have to get used to all the positions, so this is something I’m used to, moving positions,” Tingo said Monday morning following the team’s first preseason practice.
The vital sweeper position is actually not all that new to Tingo. The senior has played sweeper before for the junior varsity team and his club team.
Shoreham coach Andrew Moschetti has expressed confidence in Tingo’s ability to step up in his new role.
“He knows how to play the position,” Moschetti said. “Now it’s his turn to take over as the leader of the defense.”
The red-headed Tingo, known for his long throw-ins, poise on the ball and man-marking ability, is in his third year on the team. He won a starting position early last season after a couple of injuries hit the Wildcats. “From that day on he started every single game,” said Moschetti.
Tingo is being asked to make his mark on a young team that has been decimated by graduation. Shoreham is left with only two seniors (defender Robbie Joannou and Tingo) and just five players who have played in a varsity game before.
“Coming back and missing all of my squad is different,” Tingo said. “Now we have to build up again.”
Moschetti said: “It’s a big group to lose … a lot of experienced kids. Kids who have been on the varsity team two or three years are now all gone. It’s a big turnaround, but we got some young kids who are eager and want to come out and want that opportunity. Like I said to the kids before, we’re looking for 11 starters.”
That means there are opportunities aplenty for younger players.
“It gives everyone a chance to battle for positions,” said junior center midfielder Lawrence Ekert.
All the Wildcats had an opportunity to make an impression during Monday morning’s practice, which consisted of conditioning work. They were timed in the two-mile run before running a series of 120-yard sprints (some ran as many as 15 of them).
Shoreham is coming off a 10-5-2 season that ended with a Suffolk County Class A quarterfinal loss in penalty kicks to eventual state champion Amityville. It was Shoreham’s first playoff game in three years. The Wildcats don’t want to wait that long again to return to the postseason.
If they are to do that, though, Tingo will undoubtedly be needed to plug up the defense.
“Kyle is a very intelligent player,” Ekert said. “He knows what to do with the ball when he gets it. He does his job.”
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River senior Kyle Tingo, who has been moved from outside back to sweeper, running sprints during Monday morning’s practice. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)