As a player for Glen Rock, Casey Schick dreamed of bringing the program to new heights.
Sure he was able to take home a division title or two before his graduation in 2005, but when he returned as a coach three years ago, he started to really put that dream into motion.
Following his graduation from Western New England State University in Springfield, Mass., he reached out to his former high school coach Paul Cusack – still at Glen Rock – and became a volunteer assistant coach in 2009. A year later, he coached the JV team and did that for six years before taking over for Cusack as varsity head coach in 2016.
His first season saw Glen Rock go 11-7 (10-5 in division). It was eliminated in the first round of the Bergen County Tournament and the quarterfinals of the North 1, Group 2 Tournament. Although his first year wasn’t picture perfect, it came after Glen Rock finished under .500 in consecutive seasons and laid the groundwork for things to come.
“We had a very heavy sophomore class on our team my first year,” Schick said. “We knew the potential that they had. As long as we were able to get that out of them and have them play in the system that we wanted, we knew that we could be very successful.”
That success began to come in 2017 as Glen Rock finished 15-5-2 and advanced to the Bergen County Tournament semifinals where a controversial call kept it from reaching the final. Despite the heartbreaking end, the semifinal appearance was its first since before 2010 and left Glen Rock hungry.
That hunger paid off this year as Glen Rock mounted its best season ever.
Schick got his team over the semifinals hump with a 1-0 win over Paramus on a second half goal from leading scorer and third team All-Stater Ben Zakowski. Glen Rock took the final step and defeated Ramsey, 3-0, with two goals from Zakowski leading the way, to claim its first ever Bergen County Tournament title.
The ride was not over there.
Glen Rock entered the state tournament with a 18-0-1 record and breezed its way past Manchester Regional, Lenape Valley, Lakeland and Ramsey by a combined score of 18-2 to win the North 1, Group 2 championship.
In the Group 2 semifinals it ran into a Hackettstown team that allowed just three goals in its run to the North 2, Group 2 title. Glen Rock won 6-0 to earn its spot in the Group 2 final, where it fell to the No. 1 team in the state Holmdel, 3-1.
“To me it was the leadership that we had on our team that allowed us to get the job done this year,” Schick said. “That came from the entire senior class and some juniors. That leadership really propelled to us to where we were at the end of the county tournament and the end of the state tournament.”
Coaching in his hometown is a special thing for Schick.
He knows the school, he knows the people and he knows most of his players well.
One player he knows better than the rest in senior midfielder and third team All-Stater Nick Rogers.
Schick’s parents are neighbors with Rogers’ and Schick helped him develop into one of the top midfielders in the state.
Rogers emerged as part of the state’s top dual-threat offenses alongside Zakowski. The duo combined for 49 goals and 16 assists as Glen Rock finished 23-1-1 and ranked No. 8 in theTop 50.
“Nick is a bit of a knucklehead,” Schick joked. “It was nice to have a different kind of relationship with him where if I had to get on him a little bit, I knew that his parents would be ok with that and that he would be ok with it. I was probably harder on him than anyone else because I knew the potential that he had.”