Preseason boys soccer: No. 13 Bronx Science
There is a good reason why Bronx Science boys soccer coach Philip Cancellaro annually carries a large number of players on his roster. The Wolverines continued to develop into one of the best in the city by winning in the Bronx A division title for a second straight year.
Cancellaro knows his theory will be put to the test this season, but he is confident that he has the mix of experience and young talent to replace nine seniors.
“Every year we graduate almost double digits in starters so I keep a lot of guys to replenish the roster,” Cancellaro said. “We’re looking to win another division title, contend in the playoffs. We’re younger, and we will not graduate a lot of seniors this season which is a good thing, but we will have a very good competitive team to say the least.”
JC Bahr-de Stefano and Ivan Vulin started last season as strikers and the senior tandem combined for 14 goals last season. A new starter, junior midfielder Aaron Kirshenberg, will push the ball up field. Nicholas Tzallas moved to outside midfield and sophomore Brandon May showcases plenty of speed at the forward spot.
“We’re a good technical team, good passing team. We have a lot of good movement on top, chemistry up top at striker with me and Ivan,” Bahr-de Stefano said. “We have a lot of good kids who have gotten better over the summer, know the game very well and have good vision.”
Co-captain Saul Ioffe will play sweeper this year, and the athletic Marco Cunquiero moves to stopper. Each will provide leadership and guidance to any of the five players currently trying to win the goalkeeper competition.
There is one player who is new to this year’s roster, but quite familiar to Cancellaro.
In his first two years at the school, Andrew Rock played soccer. The 6-foot-1 Rock became an important runner on the Wolverines winning the PSAL cross-country title team, but he missed the camaraderie and team competition playing with his former soccer teammates.
Rock spoke to Cancellaro about returning and the coach was pleased to not only welcome back the defensive midfielder, but appointed Rock a team captain due to his hard work and determination to defend.
“We won the city title, but it was tough not being out there with my brothers playing. I realized this spring that I needed to play soccer,” Rock said. “I always play team competitive sports. I’m a team player.”
Bronx Science will have a fight on its hands in an even tough division against Clinton, which beat Bronx Science in the second round of the playoffs last November, along with Columbus, Evander Childs and last year’s PSAL Class B champions JFK.
“The Bronx A has gotten a lot tougher which is a good thing, [it] is starting to get some respect,” Cancellaro said. “You hear it’s all about Queens or Manhattan A, but it’s good that the Bronx A is getting better and making some noise. Our goal is winning a division title and getting better."
Check out our preseason No. 12 team Sunday at 10 a.m.