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Chartiers Valley's DiMatteo commits to WVU men's soccer

| Saturday, July 29, 2017, 1:01 a.m.
Chartiers Valley's Josh DiMatteo
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Chartiers Valley's Josh DiMatteo

While Josh DiMatteo was coming up through the Beadling Soccer Club ranks, his coach, Brian Zura, played him at various positions. What DiMatteo didn't realize at the time was he was being groomed for college scouts.

His versatility was one of the attributes that attracted the coaching staff at West Virginia, and in late July, DiMatteo committed to the Mountaineers. He also considered PSAC schools West Chester and Slippery Rock, but the allure of a Division I program was too good to ignore.

Especially considering it was his only Division I offer.

“I liked everything about it,” DiMatteo said. “Whenever I had my visit, I just loved the campus.

“(Committing before senior year) was the plan. I always wanted to go into high school season and Cup season ready for soccer and not impressing college coaches.”

Though DiMatteo said he drew scouts' attention primarily during Cup season, his most notable achievement thus far was helping to lead Chartiers Valley win the first WPIAL boys soccer title in school history. Two team members from the Class of 2017, Sean Tinney and Charlie Kovach, will begin their collegiate soccer careers in the fall, Tinney at Slippery Rock and Kovach at Juniata. DiMatteo makes three key members of the reigning WPIAL champions to commit to a college program, a trend coach Garrett Mackenzie hopes to continue.

“It just shows that the kids developed freshman through senior year,” Mackenzie said. “For WVU to step up and give (DiMatteo) a spot on the team shows that this is where our program has gone.”

DiMatteo hopes he can help the West Virginia men's team trend in a similar direction. Last season, the Mountaineers finished last (1-4) in the six-team Mid-American Conference. (The Big 12 does not have men's soccer.)

The last time the Mountaineers had a winning conference record was 2014, when they finished 3-1-1 and were runner-up to Akron.

Mackenzie said he believes DiMatteo has several qualities that will allow him to fit in with the Mountaineers.

“I think from Day 1 he's come in and worked hard,” the coach said. “He shows an effort on the field and also in practice. He's been one of our guys who has been a leader from Day 1.

“He's an athletic kid. He's a strong, tough kid who has a great work ethic.”

With his college decision out of the way, DiMatteo can focus on helping Chartiers Valley defend its WPIAL championship. He has spent the offseason working on the usual physical skills: strength, endurance, ball-handling, etc. He also is preparing to become more of a leader for the Colts, as the graduations of Tinney, Kovach and all-section keeper Caleb Zajicek left a void.

Replacing the on-field skill of the graduated seniors also will be crucial. DiMatteo said he aims to make sure everyone is ready. He would like to not only repeat as WPIAL champions but also win a state title.

He is allowing himself one selfish goal: making the all-state team.

“We have basically our core coming back,” he said. “It was a huge loss with losing Tinney and our goalie Zajicek, but we have a couple other players coming up who I think can help us get there.

“Just the feeling of winning WPIALs ... some of the underclassmen weren't there when it happened. I'm definitely looking to make sure we get that WPIAL title and the PIAA, too.”

Chuck Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at ccurti@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CCurti_Trib.

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