New coach Cicero wants to build soccer culture at Jeannette

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | 9:06 PM

After only winning one game last season, the Jeannette boys soccer program looks to new coach Arthur Cicero this year.

Cicero, a Saint Vincent graduate, was named coach in late July after Robert Rundle resigned during the offseason.

Jeannette isn’t known for soccer, but Cicero is looking to create an atmosphere that will attract younger players in the community and encourage them stick with soccer when they reach high school.

“I would rather be at a school where I would have to work to develop a program rather than be somewhere where they are fully developed,” Cicero said.

“I believe there is a little bit of creativity and work that goes with it … It’s really nice to do a lot of tweaks and see that improvement.”

Last season, the Jayhawks’ only win came against Geibel Catholic, 3-0. Jeannette allowed double-digit goals in nine contests last season, which Cicero hopes to limit this season.

Cicero will look to freshman goalkeeper Mitchell Steele as an answer for a tough Section 2-A that includes WPIAL finalist Greensburg Central Catholic and Winchester-Thurston. Cicero likes the pedigree of Steele, who has been involved in Pittsburgh Riverhounds developmental programs.

“It makes life a lot easier. You can have a great defense and a great offense. If your goalie isn’t good and your defense lets through minimal shots, it’s very demoralizing for your defense,” Cicero said.

“It’s a great way for the players to look forward on the field and not have to worry about how to keep this ball out of here.”

Cicero will lean on four seniors to provide the scoring punch and much-needed leadership. Forward Nyzaiah Friscarella, defender Logan Harshell and midfielders Ricky Torres and Logan Wright return to a team that only scored seven goals last season.

“They look up to us since we have a lot of freshmen and first-year players this year,” Friscarella said. “We’re just trying to get them better every day.”

“If we go out there and work hard, anything can happen.”

Even though Cicero has only been with the program for about three weeks, he is excited to see what freshman defender Conrad Deyton can bring.

“We’re working with what we have and using our time effectively. Within those three weeks, I’ve had kids show up to practice, which is key since we’ve had issues with that in the past,” Cicero said.

“The kids have maintained interest, and skill-wise you can see improvement through those three weeks. It takes time to build a program, and I think we’re off to a great start.”

The Jayhawks open their season with a nonsection matchup at 5 p.m. on Aug. 31 at Penn Hills. Jeannette faces Trinity Christian and Winchester-Thurston to open Section 2-A play.

“Our expectations, maybe not this year, (but) we want to be able to be competitive in our section and build on that to turn our record upside down to turn our record into a winning record,” Cicero said.


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