Minutemen Capture Coaches Cup


Jake Minnick '21, Author









A goal in the first half off the head of Will McCusker ’18 and another strong strike in the second from Alex Desiderio ‘20 helped bring the Coaches Cup back to Washington Township.

                In their final regular-season game, the Minutemen got two big goals and played terrific defense as they turned away Rancocas Valley 2-0 in the championship game of the annual South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association Tournament on the turf at Rowan University.

“We’ve been working hard all season and it’s great to see the results,” McCusker said.

                The prestigious tournament brought together 16 of the region’s top teams in a single-elimination format. The championship was the first since the Minutemen won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014.

“Growing up, I watched both of my brothers feel the joy and excitement of winning the Coaches Cup. That made it a dream for me,” said Jake Logar ’19. “Hearing the roar of the fans once the final seconds went by is probably the best noise a player can hear, and I hope to experience that noise again.”

                Head coach Shane Snyder was thrilled with his team’s performance, especially with the start of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs starting just a few days later. The Minutemen are the defending champions after beating Rancocas Valley in overtime last season.

“The kids were excited. Any time you have a chance to win a tournament, you feel really good. It was good to see all of the hard work the kids have put in pay off by winning the tournament.” Snyder said

“It was just about playing as a team, sharing the ball and working hard for each other. We’ve been playing pretty well, so we were pretty confident going into the game but not too confident. We knew we were just as good as Rancocas Valley, so it was a matter of playing our best.”

The Minutemen took a 14-game unbeaten streak into the state tournament. Winning the Coaches Cup just added to their success.

“It all started during the summer when we began practices with the team and got the guys together,” McCusker said. “We’ve worked hard and just take it one game at a time. We take every game to heart.

He continued to say,

“We gave it all we had at that moment on the field and it turned into that. It was pretty cool.”

McCusker gave a lot of credit to Mike Funaro, who hit a corner kick into the box.

“It was a great ball,” said McCusker, one of the team’s defensive leaders. “All props to him. I had been trying to get a ball into the back of the net, so it was great to be in the right place at the right time.”

What did it take for the team to win the Cup?

“Talent, hard work and unselfishness,” Snyder said.

“No one guy helped us win it more than any other. Even the guys on the bench helped. No one guy had a bigger impact than anyone else.”

McCusker echoed Snyder’s feelings.

“All of the guys had a huge impact, even the fans,” McCusker said. “Mike Pagano in net has been solid and the defense has really been solid all season. The guys stepped up to the plate and did a great job.”

The team’s hard work and talent certainly came to the forefront in this latest championship victory.

“The joy that just rushes your body once you win is an awesome feeling and having that feeling with some of the your closest friends makes it even better,” Logar said.