Franklin’s Asmath Represents Revs at All-Star Game

Farley Asmath
Franklin alum Farley Asmath (left) and Preston Hall represented the New England Revolution at the Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match at the ESPN World Wide of Sports facilities. (New England Revolution)

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On the morning of July 31, hours before the Major League Soccer (MLS) all-stars took the pitch at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium to face Spanish power Atletico Madrid, MLS WORKS and the Special Olympics hosted another all-star game featuring some of the best soccer players from across the country.

The sixth annual Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match pitted partners and athletes representing teams from the Eastern Conference against those from the West in an 11-on-11 match at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The New England Revolution were part of the festivities. Franklin High alum Farley Asmath was chosen to be the Revs Unified partner at the event, teaming up with athlete Preston Hall III.

Asmath, who earned HockomockSports.com Second XI honors in 2016 as a senior striker for the Panthers and who led the region in goals and points last fall at MassBay Community College, was thrilled at the honor of representing the Revs in Orlando.

“I’m just very thankful that they’ve noticed what I’ve been doing with the team…that I’m putting in the work at practice and things like that,” he explained. “I’m very thankful for that.” (Asmath and the Eastern Conference pulled out a 2-1 victory on Wednesday morning.)

The Unified team is a collaboration between the Revolution and Special Olympics Massachusetts. The team consists of seven athletes with intellectual disabilities and six Unified partners. The program is in its fifth season and features signing days, jersey reveals, and games scheduled in conjunction with first-team matches, giving everyone involved a taste of soccer at the MLS level.

This is Asmath’s second season with the Revs’ Unified program. He is one of three Franklin partners on the squad, along with former Panther Calen Frongillo and rising senior Carly Alston. Milford rising senior Olivia Marshall is also a partner on the team, while J.P. Young of Milford and Shawn Barton of Stoughton are athletes.

The Hockomock has seen a dramatic growth in Unified sports over the past several years. Asmath wasn’t able to participate in Unified programs while at Franklin because his soccer and track schedules didn’t allow it, but he was familiar with the Best Buddies program and when he was able he volunteered at Unified track meets at the school and made the effort to support the team. “I cheered them on and made sure they had a good time,” he said.

 

He jumped at the opportunity to join the Revs. Asmath attended a tryout and was selected to be part of the team. As he got set to start his second season, Asmath pushed his friends and former classmates to join him on the pitch.

“It’s so much fun. You get to play soccer and practice and meet great people,” he said. “I get to work with a lot of different people from different backgrounds and especially looking forward to helping people with their soccer, which I’m very passionate about.”

Last summer, the Unified team played one game, beating the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at Gillette Stadium. This year, the Revs went on the road to play D.C. United at Audi Field in July and will host New York City FC in September. Adding a second game, including a road trip, meant another unique opportunity for the athletes to share.

“It was so much fun,” Asmath said. “Everybody was really excited, they were really looking forward to it.” After the game in D.C., an athlete’s mother came up to Asmath to explain how much the trip meant to her son. “She said that every time he came to practices and games that he was very happy afterwards, which made them really happy,”

He added, “When she came to me and told me that, I was very happy. I felt like I made someone happy at home…We try to have a good time so they go home and talk about it and be excited about it.”

Asmath credited the Revs organization for its support of the Unified team. He mentioned that the Revs first-team players are frequently around practices and in the locker room and that he has gotten to know several of the players well over the past two seasons.

Revs defender Andrew Farrell said, “I think it’s important to give back to the community and give your help whenever you can. It’s not a lot that I’m giving, just my time and effort and my smile and my energy and I think everyone should be able to give back like that.”

Farrell’s support of Unified athletes started at the University of Louisville, where he volunteered for three years at a camp for athletes with disabilities that was run by his head coach. That recognition of the importance of inclusion carried over to his professional career.

“You can see it on the signing day and how excited they are to become a part of the club and the organization,” Farrell said. “It’s amazing. They’re always smiling and have a good vibe and good energy. It’s important to give everyone opportunities.”

Soccer brought these players together and offered the chance for new friendships and experiences, but Asmath believes that the Unified program delivers a new perspective that extends well beyond the pitch.

“The first year I did it, I didn’t know what to expect,” he explained. “I was just going with the flow, see how it goes, but then you start talking to the athletes and then you can see what it’s all about.

“You can see in their heart that they’re passionate about the game. You can see the joy and enthusiasm that they have not only for the sport, but for life.”

You can support the Unified program at its annual Bowl for a Goal fundraiser, which takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 21 from 6-9 p.m. at Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Patriot Place. The event features first-team Revs coaches and players, as well as members of the Unified team and local celebrities. All proceeds benefit Special Olympics Massachusetts. Purchase tickets at https://www.revolutionsoccer.net/community/bowl-for-a-goal.

Nagle Named New King Philip Hoops Coach

King Philip
King Philip announced that Dan Nagle will be the new girls basketball coach, taking over a team that went 14-8 and reached the D1 South quarterfinal last season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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Former Fitchburg State University head coach Dan Nagle announced this week that he will be the new King Philip girls basketball coach this winter, replacing Amy Siggens, who left after a couple of seasons to take the coaching position at Taunton. Nagle is familiar with the Hockomock League and many of the players from his work at Mass Premier Courts and local AAU teams.

“Coaching at Fitchburg over the last three years was a great experience and I learned a lot from it,” Nagle said. “High school has always been a great fit and King Philip with its proximity and its tradition made it a really attractive job when I saw it open up.”

Nagle went 27-50 with Fitchburg State, winning nine games in each of his three seasons. He previously coached at Worcester Academy and at Bellingham High. With Bellingham, Nagle proved successful at the high school level, leading the Blackhawks to the 2014 Div. 3 Central title and a 20-4 overall record.

The Norton native will take over a team that had success last winter and has the potential to be one of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division, bringing back a number of key pieces, including HockomockSports.com first teamer Faye Veilleux. Nagle introduced himself to the Warriors following a recent summer league game and he believes that the players will fit right into his up-tempo style.

“The good thing is that I knew a lot of them already from AAU and just from being at the facility all the time,” Nagle said. “It’s good to know there are good players. Sometimes when you take over a program you have to start over but the program is in a good spot right now.”

He added, “I think the expectations are really high and that’s exciting for me. I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge, but at the same time it’s nice to go where the ball is already rolling and I have to keep it moving in the right direction.”

In addition to the announcement of Nagle as the new basketball coach, King Philip announced that former Franklin and Dean College coach Lisa Cropper will be its new field hockey coach. Cropper won four league titles in eight seasons as head coach of the Panthers and will take over the two-time defending league champions.

 

Also, this summer KP announced that former JV coach Mike O’Neill will be the new varsity coach for the boys soccer team.

2018 Hockomock League Boys Soccer All Stars

Below are the official 2018 Hockomock League Boys Soccer All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Walisson de Oliveira, Milford

Hockomock League All Stars

Will Halben, Attleboro
Andre Menard, Attleboro
Griffin Roach, Canton
Paul Corcoran, Canton
Paolo Ruggeri, Canton
Nic Beigel, Foxboro
Dylan Barreira, Foxboro
Joe Cusack, Foxboro
Nitin Chaudhury, Franklin
Tim Duval, Franklin
Zac White, King Philip
Tony Bozza, King Philip
Luke Savoie, Mansfield
Ethan Brill-Cass, Mansfield
Sam Nugent, Mansfield
Walisson de Olivera, Milford
Joey Madden, Milford
Joao Boaventura, Milford
Joe Hilf, North Attleboro
Kyle Briere, North Attleboro
Colin Milliken, Oliver Ames
Haendel Louhis, Oliver Ames
Matthew Wang, Sharon
Ethan Kantor, Sharon
Carter Gerome, Stoughton
Brett Beaulieu, Taunton

Honorable Mentions:
Colin Levis, Attleboro
Simon Cruz, Canton
Shane VandenBoom, Foxboro
Sam Stowell, Franklin
Andrew Thompson, King Philip
Derek Meuth, Mansfield
James Sales, North Attleboro
Niko Byron, Oliver Ames
Michael Baur, Sharon
Fabio Ponce De Leon, Stoughton
Alec Nunes, Taunton

Nauset Pulls Away From Foxboro In Second Half

Foxboro boys soccer
Foxboro’s Shane VandenBoom fights for a loose ball in the second half against Nauset. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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WHITMAN, Mass. – For the first 40 minutes, Foxboro boys soccer kept pace with top-seeded and undefeated Nauset.

The Warriors had the advantage in corner kicks, an even number of chances created, just one less shot than Nauset, and trailed just 1-0 at the break.

But in the second half, Nauset showed why its considered one of the top teams in the state, scoring three straight goals en route to a 4-1 win in the D2 South Semifinals.

“I just think we were second to every ball,” said Foxboro head coach Joe Franchino. “Our passing was off today, we weren’t playing to feet. Our Achilles heel has been giving up goals but [Nauset] is a good side.

“We were getting beat to every ball. Give credit to [Nauset].”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

While Nauset got a shot on goal in the first minute, Foxboro created an opportunity just 60 seconds later. Will Regan delivered a free kick from midfield but the ball took a strong bounce and was just out of the reach of Dylan Barreira at the post in the 2nd minute.

 

After applying some pressure, Nauset broke through in the 13th minute. A failed clearance fell to the foot of senior Avery Santoro and he buried his low shot from a step inside the area inside the far post.

Despite going behind a goal, Foxboro still had its chances to pull level. In the 18th minute, junior Joe Cusack lofted a free kick in behind the defense where senior Matt Garcia connected with a driving header but his bid was just over the bar.

Senior Nic Beigel had a pair of shots in a ten minute span, both forcing saves. In the 21st minute, Beigel delivered a low shot from 25 yards out and in the 30th minute, the senior got off a hard shot but both were at the keeper.

Foxboro had two more chances in the final 10 minutes of the half. Arguably the best chance came off the foot of Garcia, who delivered a tempting ball through the area to the back post but no one made a run and the ball was touched out by the keeper. On the second ensuing corner kick, Barreira’s service was cleared to Cusack, who played the ball back into the area. Tim Behn had a look from just outside the six yard box but his shot was blocked and cleared away.

“We had some chances,” Franchino said. “Matty Garcia put one into the box and we had two guys standing in the box when they should be crashing the post. If we score one, maybe it changes things.”

Once the second half began, it was all Nauset. The top-seed showed their offensive prowess and needed just over six minutes to add to the lead. Ethan Boyle played a ball over the top of the defense and Romell Brown hit a volley off the bounce that went over the hands of Foxboro freshman keeper Derek Axon and under the bar for a 2-0 advantage.

In the 55th minute, Nauset center back and All-American selection Abdel Talabi played a ball into the area, sophomore Ben LaBranche flicked it on, and senior Curtis Moore was open for a header across the line. Two minutes later, Anthony Lavoti worked his way past a defender and fired a close range shot that Axon got a piece of but the rebound bounced over the line for a 4-0 lead.

Nauset scored all three of its second half goals in a 10-minute span.

“They finished,” Franchino said of the difference in halves. “They were getting a bunch of chances, just weren’t finishing. They play very direct, lump it into the box, and get bodies onto it. They close very hard too.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“But I always tell them, you have a wait problem. Not weight, but wait problem. You can’t sit around sit around and let the game happen, go make an impact in the game. I think that was the difference today, we were on our heels a little bit and not getting after like we can.”

Foxboro got on the board in the 75th minute. Beigel dispossessed a Nauset defender and went on a break down the right side. Beigel waited until Talabi committed before sliding a pass over to Barreira and the junior tucked his right-footed shot inside the near post to make it 4-1.

Foxboro boys soccer finishes the season at 9-7-5 with a league-high 57 goals, which is the most scored in the Hock since the Warriors scored 70 in 2015.

Bounces Go Against Milford in Season-Ending Loss

Milford boys soccer
Milford junior Walisson de Oliveira (11) drew plenty of attention from the Walpole defense in the South quarterfinal and the Hawks were held scoreless for just the second time this season. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MILFORD, Mass. – As the clock was winding down, the desperation to find an equalizing goal ratcheted up from the stands to the fans lining the fence behind the Milford bench to the players, coaches, and alumni on the sidelines to the players trying to make it happen on the pitch.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Every move to create space was met with a roar, every perceived Walpole infraction met with arms thrown into the air and calls for a whistle, and every time the ball went into the box the cheering turned from words (in several languages) into a single, unintelligible sound trying to will the ball into the back of the net.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, every one of the chances that they created in a frenetic final 20 minutes on Wednesday night in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal was cleared, blocked, saved, or just trickled wide and Walpole’s second half penalty kick held up as the winner. The Rebels, who eliminated Oliver Ames in the first round, advanced to the sectional semifinal with a 1-0 victory.

“Frustrating is putting it lightly,” said Milford coach Brian Edwards after the game. “Frustrated at this result and how this game went. I’m proud of how our guys played. I think we stayed true to our style. I thought we played the kind of soccer we’ve been playing all year and unfortunately it came down to a PK call.”

After an evenly-matched opening half, which saw Milford have a goal called back for offsides, Walpole started the second half brightly, putting the Hawks on their heels and pinning Milford back on the edge of its own penalty area. Alex Maclean was peppering the Milford back line with a succession of long throws that forced center backs Tiago Filadelfo and Joao Boaventura to constantly be on their toes.

The Hawks took 14 minutes of the second half before creating anything of note going forward and it was a long-range effort by Jordan Borges that was comfortably saved. Walpole answered right back with a great chance of its own, but Tom Walsh blazed over the bar from only a few yards out.

 

In the 57th minute, Milford nearly grabbed the lead. Boaventura played the ball out of the back to Leo Coelho, who managed to get a toe on the ball and redirected it into the path of JJoey Madden making one of many forays down the right wing. Madden got all the way to the end line and cut it back to Walisson de Oliveira but the junior couldn’t generate enough power and his first-time shot was saved.

Three minutes later, the Rebels got on the board. Another long throw came in but was allowed to bounce in the penalty area, with the ball striking the hand of Joao Vitor Neiva. The officials deemed it enough to call a handball and a penalty. Aidan Murray got Josh Orellana to go the wrong way and knocked in his shot from the spot to make it 1-0.

“We’ve seen it a few times this year,” Edwards said about the challenge of defending Walpole’s set pieces. “We knew the game plan they had coming in, we stuck to ours and I thought we executed it well. I thought we didn’t finish our chances, but I thought we played well enough to win.”

The majority of the time remaining would be spent in the attacking third for Milford, as Walpole sat deeper and deeper, defending in numbers, to protect its advantage. de Oliveira, the team’s leading scorer and one of the top scorers in the Hock this season, fashioned a chance with skillful footwork in the box but the Walpole defense charged it down and blocked the shot.

In the 70th minute, Anthony Salvador drove into the box from the left and he went to ground under a challenge that the officials ruled was fair. The ball rolled into the path of Lucas Da Silva but his shot through traffic was well-saved by Walpole keeper Dennis Crowley.

A minute later and it was Dan Santos that found himself with room to try a shot. His left-footed effort got through the crowd of players in front but was cleared off the line at full stretch by Sebastian Pignone. Three minutes later, Salvador worked enough space to get off a shot but it was deflected and easily grabbed by Crowley.

A long throw by Madden reached de Oliveira but his header went just wide of the post. in the 80th minute, as the Walpole bench was pleading for a clearance and/or the final whistle, another Madden throw caused a panic in the box. Several Milford players got a touch and the ball seemed to pinball off everyone’s legs before rolling inches wide of the bottom corner.

It would be the game’s final chance. The whistle sounded and the Davenport division champions dropped to the ground in disbelief.

Edwards said, “I told my guys that I’m proud of how they played, but soccer is like that – you can play a good game and lose.”

Milford (13-2-5) won the program’s first Hockomock League title this fall, so there was plenty to celebrate, but on this night there was only the feeling that the Hawks season ended prematurely.

“These guys have done more than any Milford team in the last two decades, so of course I’m extremely proud of them but we felt like we could do a lot more,” said Edwards.

He added, “I’m sure the guys who are coming back are going to use this as motivation because they’re going to feel very angry with how this game was decided.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield Blanked By Brockton In South Quarterfinals

Mansfield boys soccer
Mansfield’s Dylan Buchanan battles for possession against Brockton in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MANSFIELD, Mass. – In the second half, the Mansfield boys soccer team applied plenty of pressure against Brockton, creating chances off corner kicks and throw ins.

But the Hornets couldn’t break through, and the pressure came just a bit too late as #11 Brockton used a pair of first half goals and added a third one on a counter attack midway through the second half to secure a 3-0 victory over #3 Mansfield.

The Boxers, a team much better than your typical #11 seed, had complete control over the first 40 minutes of the game. Brockton had a lion’s share of the possession and neutralized Mansfield’s attempts to get up field.

“They have a hell of a lot of talent over there,” said Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan.

While the Boxers didn’t create a ton of goal scoring chances, they did capitalize on the opportunities they did have. After controlling the game of the opening 15 minutes, the visitors found the back of the net to go ahead.

After earning a free kick along the right flank, Brockton’s Luis Spinola served the ball to the near post to teammate Leonardo Teixeira. Teixeira had his first touch blocked down but tracked it down and fired in a shot at the near post on a tough angle to make it 1-0.

While Mansfield began to work its way into the game some, earning its first corner and first real attacking throw in, the Boxers struck again in the 33rd minute. Vanilton Xavier and Teixeira combined to get Xavier out wide. After using a cut back to avoid two defenders and centered it back to Teixeira, who headed in a ball he played up to himself.

 

“They played a little bit more aggressive,” Sheridan said, as compared to the regular season meeting between the clubs. “They were passive the first time, they didn’t play aggressive until the second half. In this game, they came out from the get go with a lot more gusto than the first time. We came out timid but we settled down. After the lightning break, we took it too them. We just couldn’t put the ball in the net.”

Mansfield’s lone chance of the opening half came off the foot of junior Colin Caridi, who blasted a low shot from 20 yards out but it slid wide at the far post.

“First, we had to keep the ball,” said Brockton head coach Herminio Furtado about defending Mansfield. “As long as you keep the ball, you’re safe. Second, don’t give them throw ins, they love that. We’d rather play from the back and if we lose it, just try to win it back instead of playing it out and giving them throw ins. It was about possessing and being conservative.”

The second half came to an abrupt halt just over minutes in because of a lightning delay. After the teams cleared the field, play resumed 36 minutes later. After the delay, the Hornets ramped up the pressure.

Mansfield had three straight conner kicks in the 38th minute, but only the final one had a chance on goal with Luke Savoie’s header saved on a bounce.

While Teixeira didn’t play a lot of minutes for Brockton in the second half, he did have a chance in the 51st minute but Mansfield junior keeper Cam Bovey made the stop.

While the Hornets pushed numbers forward, the chances on goal didn’t pile up. Instead, the Boxers were able to strike on a quick counter attack. Edson Lopes played Joel Arsenault wide but as soon as Lopes released the ball, he took off sprinting forward and was rewarded for his run as Arsenault slipped a ball in behind and Lopes touched it around the keeper for a 3-0 lead in the 60th minute.

“They only [broke us down] a couple of times.” Sheridan said. “The third goal, we were pushing numbers up and had less guys in the back…2-0, 3-0, 4-0…didn’t matter, we had to go for it.”

Mansfield’s best chance of the game came a minute later as Luke Devine flicked a ball in behind on a header and Savoie fired a hard low shot across the goal but it hit off the far post and rolled across the goal line, somehow staying out and keeping the Hornets scoreless.

Mansfield boys soccer finishes the season 13-3-5.