New coach helps fuel turnaround for Franklin Regional soccer
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After its worst season in recent memory last year, the Franklin Regional boys soccer team worked hard to ensure there wasn't a repeat.
Under a new coach in Ryan Montgomery, the Panthers say they were much more dedicated and focused over the offseason and in practice. It's shown in the results.
Coming off a 5-9 season that was only the program's second losing season since 2005, Franklin Regional was undefeated through 11 games heading into a nonsection contest against Plum on Monday night.
“We're having a good run right now,” senior midfielder Brent Velasquez said. “We've been doing all the things we need to do well. And we're all working hard this year.”
Franklin Regional had allowed only six goals through a 9-0-2 start heading into the week, and the Panthers lead Section 1-AAA with an 8-0-1 record. Franklin Regional was moved from Section 3-AAA after last season, and Montgomery replaced Simon Austin as coach.
“He's definitely been a positive for us,” Velasquez said. “He gets us motivated to work hard, and all that hard work is paying off. He understands the game really well, and I think he puts us in the best position to win all our games. It's been working out really well.”
Five of the Panthers, including four starters, have played for Montgomery in the Century United program.
The respect the players have for Montgomery when it comes to his knowledge of the game is reciprocated by the coach.
“The guys are a really smart group of players,” Montgomery said. “It's rare in high school to have as many guys that can understand the game well enough to allow us to put them in different positions and different formations and really be able to respond to an opponent.”
Franklin Regional has won games with offense (four times scoring at least three goals), and it's won them with defense (five shutouts). Mostly, says Montgomery, they are doing it with discipline. Players understand their roles and what they need to do during every situation at any given time on the field.
“The guys are really doing some special things,” Montgomery said. “And we're having a good season as a result.
“Just the way the boys have adapted to a regime change. They took it so well, took it in stride and adjusted to what we were trying to do.”
Velasquez, senior forward Michael Roberge, sophomore midfielder Jake Roberge and sophomore forward Tim Jolayemi are among the Panthers' most experienced players. Velasquez, senior center backer Nick Bolkovac and senior defender Mason Settino are among their top leaders.
Michael Roberge has committed to play at Northwestern, and Montgomery said Velasquez was among the other seniors likely to have a college soccer career ahead of them.
Goalkeeper Chris Ralph, outside midfielders Ryan Watson and Danny Ferriero and forward Anthony Massetto are among the sophomores who make an impact for the Panthers.
“This group is a close group,” Montgomery said. “They really have a good rapport with each other, and that carries out onto the field.”
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates set wild-card game lineup; Rodriguez gets start at first base
- Steelers QB Roethlisberger not targeting Oct. 25 return
- House defeats governor’s tax plan
- Former employee at Plum home-building firm charged with embezzling nearly $200K
- Sky’s not the limit: Pirate Parrot takes trip into Earth’s atmosphere
- Trafford mayor resigns, councilman gives up presidency
- WVU All-American Joeseph out for season with knee injury
- Rossi: Time for Pirates to take next step
- New Florence assistant fire chief charged with having sex with juvenile
- WPIAL hands out suspensions for Wilkinsburg-Monessen fight
- Young Hampton runners look to fulfill potential