Boys Soccer: It’s GMTD for two Mattituck forwards

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | For junior forward Stephen Urwand and the rest of the Mattituck players, goals make the day.

The motto has been passed down from one Mattituck High School boys soccer team to another through the years.

GMTD — goals make the day.

It was said a couple of times on Tuesday night, and junior forwards Stephen Urwand and Evan Neighley hope to hear that saying a few more times this fall.

“Oh yeah, we just follow the motto,” Urwand said after Mattituck defeated Harborfields, 2-0, in a Town of Brookhaven Summer Soccer League game in Coram. “Our team likes to live by that saying.

“It’s kind of a legacy. You hear the older classmen say it. You just live by it. You want to keep the legacy of Mattituck soccer going.”

Urwand, Neighley and several other juniors to be hope to keep that legacy going this season. For the past two years, they have looked from the outside in at a varsity team going deep in the Class B state tournament when they weren’t starring for the undefeated junior varsity team.

Now, it’s their turn. While they realize they have some big soccer boots to fill, they are optimistic they can help the Tuckers not only be competitive, but duplicate their success.

“We lost a lot of seniors. We had about 12 seniors last year,” Neighley said. “A lot of young players are going to be playing. I think since we got this travel team going and we’ve got this Brookhaven league, we’ve been working together for a while. I think we’re going to be pretty good this year.”

Urwand, however, took it one step further.

“We’re going all the way,” he said. “I have complete confidence in my school and my team. States is definitely a goal for us, which we want to reach. I feel we can reach it.”

Steve Tettelbach, who has coached both players on the Mattituck Bears under-17 team in the Long Island Junior Soccer League and in the summer league, has liked what he has seen in both players at the youth and summer league levels.

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | Christian Tettelbach of Mattituck tried to advance the ball against Harborfields on Monday evening.

“They’re both very good players, both hustle players,” he said. “Steve’s played with us for several years. Evan, this is his first year playing with us. They both have a real good work ethic, very unselfish players. They did a great job tonight, getting both goals. They’re a big part of the travel team as well as well as the varsity team this year.”

They each learned their soccer skills in different ways.

Urwand took the more traditional approach, playing since he was about 4 years old. It certainly didn’t hurt that he had an older brother, Vincent, to emulate. “I always had an older brother who played so I kind of followed in his footsteps ever since I was a young kid,” he said.

Urwand admitted he doesn’t follow pro or international soccer that much. His favorite player is Barcelona’s Argentine-born maestro Lionel Messi in Spain’s La Liga.

Neighley’s favorite? Dutchman Robin van Persie of Arsenal, who performs in the English Premier League.

“He’s working hard out there,” Neighley said. “He’s a scorer. He’s got a bunch of assists. He’s just a great team player. I look up to him.”

Unlike his teammate, Neighley played another kind of football — the gridiron type — until the seventh grade. He admitted that was a pretty late start.

“I’m not really that big,” the 6-foot, 150-pound Neighley said, explaining the switch. “I actually scored a couple of goals last year. The year before that I wasn’t really good.”

The players had different views of their goals when they were asked how it helped their confidence.

Urwand headed home a shot from the right side in the 10th minute of the 60-minute match at Diamond in the Pines.

“It’s not much for my confidence, it’s more for the team confidence, I would say,” he said. “You want to be good for your team. It’s not all about you. It does help out your confidence a little bit. To be a good soccer player you have to have confidence, just being able to know you can do it. It makes you a good player.”

Neighley scored from the left side as his 15-yard shot hit the right post and bounded in for an insurance goal in the 55th minute.

“It raises my confidence a lot,” he said. “I think it definitely helped. It was late in the game. It just had to seal the deal. Happy.”

Both players will be making a giant step from an undefeated JV team to a varsity that has enjoyed great success in recent seasons.

“Me and Steven Urwand, we’re working hard on top,” Neighley said.

Which is why the Brookhaven Summer League is so vital.

“It’s important for all of your team to come out here and play,” Neighley said. “We need to work together, get to know each other better, know who’s going to be where and everything. It’s also important if you want to get a starting position, you’ve got to come out here, make every game.”

Monday’s game was significant for another reason: It was goalkeeper Austin Scoggin’s first game back from a back injury. He looked solid in the net.

“We’ve got to be intelligent about this,” Tettelbach said. “He’s very good as you saw, so clearly we want to make sure he’s fully healthy for the fall season.”

Mattituck is assured of a playoff berth in the league as it finds itself tied with Elwood/John Glenn for the small schools league lead with 5-1-1 records each.

“So far so good,” Tettelbach said. “We’re playing for a good seed. So, we’ll go from there.”

The playoffs run from Aug. 1 through Aug. 10.

Regardless how Urwand, Neighley and their Mattituck teammates fare this summer, that will just be the appetizer for the main course in the fall.