New boys’ soccer coach Brendan Cavanaugh brings familiarity to field

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Masuk soccer players, from left, Jay Miguel and Matt Johnson fight for the ball during a preseason practice.

MONROE, CT — There is a new coach at the helm to guide Masuk High boys’ soccer team. But yet a familiar face with seven-year varsity assistant and junior varsity head coach Brendan Cavanaugh succeeding Antonio Viscuso. 

“I’ve been with these kids from day one. I know all of the guys,” Cavanaugh said during preseason practice.

“I am very excited to take over the Masuk Boys Soccer program. I just want to thank previous coach, Antonio Viscuso for leaving me with all the tools to be successful as I take over the program. Antonio did so much for the soccer community in Monroe. He will be sorely missed,” Cavanaugh said. “I also want to thank Athletic Director John DeGennaro for believing in me and allowing me to take over this program. … I am very familiar with the town and its players and am eager for the season to start.”

The Panthers will enter the 2021 season under the guidance of their new head coach, Brendan Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh is joined on the coaching staff by former Masuk player, 2019 graduate Jarrod Schulz. The assistant is also returning to the staff having coached in the program last year.

Senior captains are defenders Carter McCoyefense and Anthony Foglia, along with midfielder Jonah Lesiw.

Masuk has 14 seniors, but three are out with season ending injuries. Junior Chris Simoulidis will step in to play goal after senior Ethan Fink suffered a knee injury. “Losing Ethan is a huge loss for the team,” Cavanaugh said.

Team goals are to go far in the South-West Conference tournament and qualify for the state tournament.

“The SWC is always one of the best conferences in the state. Every opponent that we play is a good quality team. We will not take any opponent lightly and will prepare mentally and physically to be ready for a great match,” Cavanaugh said.

“Senior leaders will need to take that next step forward and be confident in their abilities. We also need some underclassman to step up and make plays in big spots,” the coach said.

Veteran leadership is a strength of the team.

“It is a very close-knit group. The senior-led backline with captains Carter McCoy and Anthony Foglia will be our strength,” Cavanaugh added.

The Panthers, like other teams in the area, are hopeful for a season with few, if any, coronavirus-related issues following last year’s altered campaign in which the conference was broken into two divisions and some teams, including the Panthers, had their schedule cut short.

“I am excited for the season. I am cautiously optimistic that we will get through the season. I just hope my seniors will have a full season with playoffs and can enjoy their experience playing. I really feel badly for those seniors from last season whose seasons were greatly impacted due to COVID,” Cavanaugh said.

Masuk begins the slate Thursday, Sept. 9 with a 7 p.m. visit to New Milford. The Panthers host Harding of Bridgeport on Friday, Sept. 10 at 4 pm.

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