CLINTON – It’s a new era for the Clinton boys soccer team.
Longtime head coach Gil Palladino retired last October following a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss to eventual Section 3 champion Skaneateles in the Class B semifinals. Taking over is Michael Scheiderich, who coached Clinton’s modified program the past two seasons and helped out with the varsity team during sectionals.
“It’s just like our T-shirts say,” junior center midfielder Joshua Houle said. “’It’s a new era, same tradition’. “It was a good transition with coach Scheiderich. We knew him and talked to him a lot the past couple of years.”
The Warriors, who have won four straight Center State Conference Division I titles, opened their league schedule with a dominating 10-1 victory at home over Sherburne-Earlville Wednesday. Clinton (3-0, 1-0) jumped out early and controlled the action throughout, as eight different players scored. Matt Orlando and Ezra Mead each scored twice, and Joshua Houle, Cody Jones, Matt Martini, Travis Huther, Jerry Lawlor and John Conway also notched goals for Clinton (3-0).
The Warriors lost All-CNY player Gavin Gleasman to graduation. Gleasman, who is Clinton’s all-time leading goal scorer with 61 goals, had 20 goals and 15 assists last season.
Scheiderich, who played at Rome Free Academy, and then for Roger Williams College, knows the Warriors lost plenty of talent, but has a plan for how to make up for those losses.
“We’re replacing (Gleasman’s) goals with four or five guys,” Scheiderich said. “I think that’s a better recipe for success.”
Taking over for Palladino won’t be an easy act to follow. Palladino coached Clinton’s varsity program for 22 years, tallying over 300 victories, two sectional titles, and a trip to the state semifinals in 2011.
“We’re looking pretty good so far,” Scheiderich said. “We’re coming together and playing team ball. Last year, we relied more heavily on a few players, and we lost some really talented players. This year, I think teams are going to be surprised when they play us.”
The Warriors are also playing with a chip on their shoulders after coming so close last season.
“We thought that game could’ve gone either way,” senior striker Matt Martini said of the Warriors’ loss to Skaneateles. “We felt if we won that game we would’ve had a great chance to win the title.”
Martini, who is in his fourth season on varsity, likes what he has seen so far from his team.
“We are very confident as a team,” Martini said. “We are realistic in judging our ability, and we are going to strive for our goals to win the section and make a run in states. We are very deep this year and coach Scheiderich is doing a great job. He has a different plan, and our entire team is buying into the new system.”
Scheiderich values more of a team game, based on spacing, communication and moving the ball, and the Warriors executed it well Wednesday.
“We possess the ball really well and work with each other a lot better,” Houle said. “We are focusing on keeping the ball on the ground more and possessing the ball. It’s working so far, but we have a long way to go.”
Houle knows what it’s going to take for the Warriors to reach their lofty goals.
“If we play like a team we can go far.”
Clinton 10, Sherburne Earlville 1
Sherburne-Earlville (0-2-1, 0-1): Salvatore Magro 1-0.
Clinton (3-0, 1-0): Matt Orlando 2-0, Ezra Mead 2-0, Joshua Houle 1-2, Steve Calidonna 0-2, Cody Jones 1-1, Matt Martini 1-1, Travis Huther 1-0, Jerry Lawlor 1-0, John Conway 1-0, Henry Garner 0-1, Emilio Quintana 0-1.