Your November presidential ballots will offer only Trump-Pence and Clinton-Kaine as options.
The town of Wethersfield has their own set of hopefuls in Szymecki-Barry, as in dynamic soccer stars Lukas Szymecki and Brandan Barry.
The pair is hoping for another crack at a state championship and is carrying the Eagles soccer squad this season, again putting their offensive skills on display during a 10-3 home victory over Middletown last Tuesday at Cottone Field.
Szymecki scored five goals and Barry added two more, helping improve the team’s record to 7-1-1 at the midway point of the season.
“Lukas kind of had a coming out party,” said Wethersfield head coach Rob Jachym, “Last year we had a very good keeper and an All-American in Jimmy [Slayton], who is starting at the University of Hartford right now. Our strength was in the back and we won a lot of close game and had a lot of shutouts. This year we’re quite different. We’re scoring a lot of goals and are giving up more than we like, but we’re hoping that if we give up a couple of goals that Brendan and Lukas will provide enough for us to win.”
Jachym’s team advanced all the way to the Class L championship game a season ago, before losing a double overtime heartbreaker to Avon in the title game. The team had several starters graduate, including Slayton, but the play on the field hasn’t diminished thanks to their offensive juggernauts.
“We lost a lot of players, but the attitude is the same,” said Barry, “We’re trying to stay blue-collar and no matter what we did last year we have to keep working to keep winning.”
“We train hard and coach Rob pushes us,” added Szymecki, “We have a good group of guy and Wethersfield is a soccer town, so we want to keep the tradition going.”
The two have assumed the majority of the offensive load this season and were responsible for seven of the team’s first eight goals against the Blue Dragons. Christiano Labella, Drin Berisha, and Brian Rodriguez scored the other goals for Wethersfield.
Szymecki scored three of his goals in the first nine minutes of action.
“We hadn’t played in almost a full week so I was eager and excited to get back on the field,” the senior said about the blazing start, “I feel more relaxed on the field this season and I also feel that I have to step it up and be a leader for the younger guys. We have a young team so I definitely want to show the guys a good work ethic and good leadership. “
Szymecki added that the team hasn’t forgotten about last year’s title loss and are using the disappointment as extra motivation this fall.
“The returning players take it a little more personally, but even the new guys are eager to have their own title shot and hopefully win it this year,” added Barry, who is a junior.
Szymecki and Barry are providing the offensive fireworks, but they’ll have to continue to get solid play from their goaltenders in order for Wethersfield to make a repeat trip to the finals. The team is currently platooning Mark Accarpio and Enrico Gionfriddo between the pipes.
“Right now there’s no true number one. Lately we’ve been rotating both of them until one of them officially puts a stamp on the position,” stated Jachym, whose been the head coach at Wethersfield since 2000, “I think the competition is good. We have competition at every other position so why not the goal keeper position.”
The veteran coach added that he’d also like to see improvement from his midfielders before the regular season is complete.
“We did a good job today, but that hasn’t always the case so we have to build on what we did today and keep creating chances. At times we haven’t gotten that from our midfielders, but today we did so I think that’s a good sign.”
The defense and goaltending will hopefully be polished up before the tournament starts in less than a month, but this year’s Eagles team will fly only as far as the offensive talents of Szymecki and Barry will take them. It’s a tandem that has been putting in hard work for years, waiting for their moment to shine.
“I first started playing with Luke back in our travel days when we were on the same team. We go way back, on and off the field. We’re great friends, so I think that helps us on the field and I think we feed off of each other at times,” said Barry, who added he wouldn’t want to be with anybody else, “Wethersfield has always been a very good soccer town and a lot of the kids just want to continue that. I think a lot of the credit goes to our coach. He keeps us focused and no matter who we have playing we just have to keep working.”
Szymecki likes the way the season is unfolding so far, but wants to see the team at full force when it matters most, “We do have some things we can work on. We have a good chemistry in the locker room, but our chemistry on the field could improve and hopefully it will as the season goes on.”
The team ended last week with 1-0 shutout victory over Maloney on Thursday. They travel to Rocky Hill to play the Terriers on Tuesday, Oct 25 for a match at 7 p.m. Their last home game is Friday, Oct 28 against Berlin at 6:30 p.m.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin