John Butler enters his fourth season as boys’ soccer coach at Red Bank Catholic High School with a high expectation.
His goal is to turn the Caseys into a Shore Conference and state contender.
And RBC appears headed towards achieving both feats.
Red Bank Catholic has gradually improved under Butler, reaching the NJSIAA Non-Public A South state sectional tournament in 2015 and ‘16, then advancing to the Non-Public A South sectional
This year, Butler returns nine senior starters who will comprise a very talented group.
Goalkeeper Andrew Schweizer has 462 career saves, and has stopped six of 10 penalty kicks in his RBC tenure. Forward Alex Nichols registered 12 goals and seven assists last year, while he has more than 30 goals in three seasons.
“Schweizer is an excellent shot-blocker, very good one on one. He’s elite for high school. I’m hoping he gets recognized this year because our first couple years we didn’t have winning records. So hopefully he’ll be recognized this year for his talent,” Butler said. “Nichols is getting looked at by big schools. He’ll be one of our forward players, but I still expect balance from him.”
Center back Sean Wosleger is “an excellent defender in every way,” Butler said, and will anchor RBC’s defensive line.
Red Bank Catholic has three other seniors who have also been starting for four years in outside wings Andrew Colannino and Johnny Duffy and attacking midfielder Terrence Carroll.
“Those three all score and assist. They were defenders last year but are turning into wingers this year,” Butler said. “The speed and athleticism, they are just a perfect fit for the formation we’ll be playing this year.”
The seniors are complemented by a pair of promising sophomore midfielders, Diego Volpe and Michael DeLeonardis. Volpe is a pass-first player with great vision. DeLeonardis is a dribbling wizard who helps RBC hold possession.
Together, they form a balanced starting lineup.
“I expect to be .500 or better,” Butler said. “And a deep run in the Shore Conference and states this year.”
Making and going deep in the Shore Conference Tournament is RBC’s main goal for 2018.
A team must hold a .500 record to qualify for the conference tournament. Last autumn, RBC just missed earning a bid since the Caseys were a game under .500 during selection time.
The Caseys have not made the Shore Conference Tournament under Butler, who estimates that they haven’t made it in at least eight years.
“That’s the harder tournament since you have to be .500, so that’s the goal,” Butler said. “We have a heavy-loaded senior team. We believe in each other and could make a good run.”
“I think we’re capable of making Shore Conference,” Wosleger said. “That’s been the goal since freshman year.”
Butler also expects a deeper run in the state tournament. Basically, he thinks 2018 will be the year when RBC graduates from improving to actually good. The senior base is there. And so is the young farm system of talent.
Butler is planning on keeping a few freshmen on the varsity roster. The seniors are just as excited about the freshmen as they are about themselves.
“We have three or four really good ones,” Nichols said.
Red Bank Catholic is prepared to make some noise this fall.
“We have potential to do some really good things,” Schweizer said.