Patrick Turk is hungry for his first win as Oceanside’s boys’ soccer coach.
Turk, who has been with the program for over a decade, took over as the bench boss with the varsity team last year and, with about three-quarters of the 2016 playoff squad gone, saw the Sailors go 0-10-1 with just five goals scored. But with a more experienced roster this time around, Oceanside could very well be an improved team this fall.
Turk took solace in the fact that his team was competitive for most of the season, with seven of the losses coming by two goals or less. He made sure to hammer that point to the boys when they gathered last spring in preparation for the season.
“We were very young last year and very inexperienced,” Turk said. “We were coming out on the field against teams that were very senior-laden. That’s obviously not a good equation in our favor. This year, we have 10 seniors and 16 guys returning, a lot of them who are starters.”
Turk even noticed during training camp that the elder players are taking charge and correcting their teammates when mistakes are made before he could even step in.
“These guys are caring more,” Turk said. “They’re looking more into it themselves and they really want something to be different. They want to know how to make this go better and they’re willing to help each other.”
Forwards Jonathan Gamarra, who scored at Kellenberg on Sept. 23, and strong-shooting Randy Lorenzo will be looked upon to give the offense a re-boost. Gamarra will re-join the team during the season as he completes his recovery from off-season knee surgery and Turk is anxious for him to return.
“He always knows where to be,” Turk said. “He’s that player that always gets in the right spot and puts himself in the right place to score.”
Senior Max Wasserman and junior Austin Ortiz will try to fill the void up front until Gamarra returns.
Senior Teddy Tsakos and junior Chris Seychell, whom Turk called the “field generals”, will be the starting midfielders and looked upon to help defensively while trying to set up the transition to the forwards offensively.
Senior Pete Folias will anchor the defense at the center-back position and will be joined by up-and-coming sophomores Ben Sanchez and Matt Meagher.
“They earned their way onto the field and really impressed us,” Turk said of the sophomores. “They’re very hard-nosed players going up against senior guys who are bigger and stronger than them and they had no problem going in for a tackle.”
Andrew Keller will be the full-time starting goalkeeper this fall after sharing the role last season and Turk lauded the senior for his growth both on the field and as a leader.
Oceanside, which moved to Conference AA-1 this season, hosts new foe Massapequa on Friday.