Brentwood soccer coach focused on continuing soccer development
Success is measured a little differently for Ron DiNardo and the Brentwood boys' soccer team he has coached for the past nine seasons, six as the head coach.
“I don't go by wins and losses,” DiNardo said. “This program has grown so much since I took over. When we can hold Seton and Canevin down to three or four goals that's doing something right.”
DiNardo points out Section 3-A is loaded with tough competition, including Bishop Canevin, Carlynton and Seton-La Salle.
DiNardo also said many of the top teams in the section usually have on their roster three or four Cup players who compete for elite travel teams.
Brentwood has had only two such elite players in the history of the program.
The top three teams in the section qualify for the WPIAL playoffs. The Spartans made history in 2011 when they qualified for the playoffs for the first time.
DiNardo is not sure when that might happen again, as Brentwood finished 5-13 in 2012. For now, he is focused on teaching the fundamentals and helping the soccer program grow in Brentwood.
“It's not easy. No matter what section we're in, it's tough,” he said. “But these kids have come a long way. I just want them to play hard every game. Those are my expectations.”
Brentwood does not have a girls' soccer program. Of the 18 players on the boys' varsity team, five are girls. And two, Alexis Gaughan and Shelby Stockline, start every game. Gaughan also is one of three team co-captains.
“It's basically a co-ed team. But, they're competitive,” DiNardo said.
The only senior on the team is Gaughan, who plays stopper.
“She's a very physical player even though she's a girl,” DiNardo said. “She's also a very good softball player and swimmer for Brentwood.”
Stockline, a junior, plays left wing. The other girls on the team are sophomores Sabrina Stockline and Leah Mattola, and junior Natalie Andrews.
“During a game, I sometimes have four girls on the field at one time,” the Spartans' head coach said.
Andrew Gazzam, a junior, has taken over in goal for Brentwood this season. DiNardo is pleased with his abilities in net.
“He had 27 saves in our game against Chartiers-Houston during the Labor Day tournament,” DiNardo said.
Junior Nick Gall is a co-captain and talented forward/midfielder. DiNardo appreciates Gall's versatility, moving him to defense during two early games.
Steve Mattola, another junior, also is a co-captain and forward/midfielder. He and Gall have played soccer together for many years.
“They feed off one other,” DiNardo said.
Junior midfielder Travis Nolla creates opportunities for the Spartans on the field.
“He's the Energizer Bunny. He just keeps going and going,” DiNardo said.
New faces on the Brentwood soccer scene include Cameron Moir, a freshman starter at midfield who has brought energy and skill to the program.
Luke O'Shea, a sophomore midfielder, also is an up-and-coming player. DiNardo expects hm to be an ongoing contributor.
Rounding out the team are juniors Justin Mondry, Austin Harmon and Matt Gazzam; sophomores Alex Hernandez, Luke Benedik and Sam Belenis; and freshman Rian Way.
Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.