Every season is a new one. That’s the approach Christian Brothers Academy’s head soccer Coach Tim Mulligan takes each year.
“Every year is a new start,” said Mulligan. “That’s what’s unique about high school coaching. You never have the same team. You never have the same kids. Every year is a challenge.”
Yet, over the decades, CBA soccer has been a symbol of stability and excellence. Last year was no exception as the Colts forged one of their greatest seasons, going 20-2 while winning their record 11th Shore Conference Tournament crown as well as the NJSIAA Non-Public A South sectional championship. The Colts’ lone loss to a New Jersey team was in the state championship final to Seton Hall Prep.
The key to CBA’s continued success is tradition and senior leadership, according to Mulligan.
“The players know the expectations,” noted Mulligan. “It’s a good culture and goes from the top down. The seniors own the season. They are the leaders. They want to leave their impression onto the next group.”
This year, Mulligan has three outstanding senior co-captains who he says “are tremendous leaders.” They are also the core of the ’22 Colts.
Attack winger Will Thygeson, defender Charlie Paparella and attacking midfield Jack D’Eletto are the troika of captains.
Thygeson tallied five goals and nine assists in ’21 while D’Eletto had six goals and six assists. Paparella was part of a defense that allowed 20 goals in 22 games and posted 11 shutouts.
The Colts have just two other returning field starters, and they are good ones in juniors Dylan Millevoi and Lawrence Mancino. Forward/midfielder Millevoi was one of the club’s top goal-scorers last year with nine goals and is expected to be more productive this year while Mulligan said Mancino is the anchor of the defense.
Another junior, Dmitry Corba, a center midfielder, will see a bigger role this year as a starter.
CBA’s sixth returning starter is keeper Joe Grossman, another junior who brings dependability.
With the other starting positions and rotations in the air, Mulligan said the ’22 season will take time to develop. It will be a process, but the expectations and goals remain the same.
As always, CBA will embark on a challenging non-division schedule that includes matches with out-of-state opponents LaSalle College from Pennsylvania and Chaminade, New York.
“We embrace the competition,” said Mulligan. “It’s good to step out of Monmouth County.”
The Colts have something else to look forward to: a new turf pitch. It is being called the Dan Keane Field in honor of the Colts’ legendary coach.
“The kids are excited to play on it,” said Mulligan.