The Vernon High School boys soccer program, like many athletic teams, are taking to the field this fall with a considerable degree of uncertainty. COVID-19 brings its own demands before, during, and after each game.
The Vikings, with experienced head coach Joseph Jones leading the way and several varsity-tested student athletes on the roster, appear ready for the season.
Key returning players this year include Nick Amati (senior, back), Landon Carte (senior, back), Aiden Horn (senior, back), Dylan Mangone (senior, forward), Jacob Mann (junior, back), and Luca Polizos (sophomore, back).
Among the promising newcomers for the Vikings at the varsity level this fall are Bryan Darker (senior, midfield), Jeremiah Kerton (senior, back and forward), Ray Kerrison (senior, forward), Kaden Haw (sophomore, midfield), Nate Horn (sophomore, midfield), Tyler Hordych Sophomore, back), Tyler Jones (sophomore, midfield), Owen Lally (freshman, goal keeper), and Zak Mountain (freshman, forward).
“Aiden Horn and Dylan Mann are the captains of the team, however the entire team needs to step up and be leaders,’’ Jones said. “It is especially important for the veteran players to mentor and support the youth of the team that is less experienced gain the confidence and maturity that is needed to play at this level.’’
The Vikings tallied an overall record of 10-9 and advanced to the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament, where they lost a one goal contest to Dumont in 2019. They are scheduled to begin the regular season with a home game against Kittatinny on Oct. 1.
“I would like to be competitive in our Division, gain a home game for the State Tournament and win our first State game in over a decade,’’ Jones said. “While some on the outside may view this as a rebuilding year, I disagree. We have good players returning and if the young players mesh in quickly we can compete in our Division.’’
Vernon competes in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference.
“While no team can be underestimated, Newton is always a powerhouse, High Point defeated us at home last year, and Wallkill is well coached and returning some key players,’’ Jones said. “Kittattiny always provides a good game and Sussex Tech always has the potential to surprise.’’
“I would like to be competitive in our Division, gain a home game for the State Tournament and win our first State game in over a decade.” --Head coach Joseph Jones