Ny: Edward Kensik – CORRESPONDENT
Community News (Lodi Edition)


The Wood-Ridge High School boys soccer team will be breaking off from Hasbrouck Heights next season.

The Wood-Ridge High School boys soccer team will be breaking off from Hasbrouck Heights next season.

 Hasbrouck Heights and Wood Ridge high schools have shared soccer teams for more years than anyone can remember.

For Wood-Ridge, the school has not had a soccer squad without being with neighbor Hasbrouck Heights.

But for the 2013 season the Blue Devils are going their own way for both the boys and girls soccer teams. The Wood-Ridge and Hasbrouck Heights athletic departments and school officials met in December to talk about the co-op programs between the schools.

In the recent past the two schools have shared teams involving wrestling, girls tennis, boys soccer and girls soccer. After the meeting, it was determined that the two schools would go their separate ways for soccer.

The move comes after Hasbrouck Heights‘ incoming classes were too big and Wood-Ridge felt that it was time to go on its own when it came to soccer.

For Wood-Ridge High School, the girls team will go right into a varsity schedule while the boys will have a junior varsity team. Both squads will only have one team with the hope in the future to have both varsity and JV teams for each.

“The girls teams are more experienced,” said Wood-Ridge Athletic Director Jason Cata about deciding to have a varsity girls soccer squad while the boys go JV.

Cata conducted a survey for the Wood-Ridge High School student body and found great interest from the boys and girls to play soccer this fall.

Both teams have been practicing during the summer with the turnout for the girls at between 23 and 25 while boys have around 17 with more expected to come out when the freshmen arrive next month.

The girls varsity team will be led by a head coach who is familiar with the area. Joe Soto is the former St. Mary High School of Rutherford girls soccer coach. Recently he was an assistant women’s soccer coach at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City for three years.

“I always enjoy coaching high school soccer,” said Soto. “I look at Wood-Ridge as a great start-up program.”

He believes there is talent, but as a new varsity soccer program he knows that there are plenty of hurdles to jump over.

“It is a challenge and that is what was intriguing about it,” said Soto.

He coached St. Mary High School for five years as the Lady Gaels had some success although his one hole was beating at that time Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge.

“I was never able to defeat them,” said Soto. “It will be nice to beat them if it is this year or five or six years down the road.”

The first game between the two schools will be Sept. 26 in Wood-Ridge at 4 p.m. and the two teams will play each other on Oct. 22 at Hasbrouck Heights.

For the girls team, their first scrimmage is Aug. 23 at Leonia at 10 a.m. The first regular season and first Wood-Ridge girls varsity soccer game is Sept. 11 at Emerson High School. And the first home game in the history of Wood-Ridge varsity girls soccer is Sept. 13 against rival Becton at 4 p.m.

For the boys team the first junior varsity scrimmage is Aug. 27 at home against Butler. The first official junior varsity game is Sept. 10 at home against American History.

According to Cata the boys junior varsity team will be following the Weehawken varsity schedule since Weehawken does not have a JV team. The boys team will host rival Becton on Sept. 17 at 4 p.m.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/218697941_Wood-Ridge_soccer_squads_breaking_off_from_Heights.html?page=all#sthash.oeQ0foE8.dpuf