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Archive of Weekly Commentary by Vincent J. Mallozzi

Boca Jr. 2014 Flight Winners!!!!!


The Boca Bullet kept firing from all angles on Sunday and when the smoke cleared, a visiting Stafford County squad fled town, happy to escape with a 3-3 tie.

Matawan (1-0-1) remained undefeated in Flight 3 thanks largely to an incredible performance by the speedy Justin, aka the Boca Bullet, who brought the home crowd to its feet several times with heart-stopping, coast-to-coast bursts past helpless Stafford players who looked more like cardboard cutouts as the Boca Bullet sped past them for a number of breakaway chances, the first of which resulted in an early goal that gave Matawan a 1-0 lead.

“Stay with Number Four! Stay with Number Four...” the Stafford head coach kept yelling at his players, his blood pressure rising hire than his voice.

After Josh plowed through a few defenders for a hard-fought second goal, Matawan led 2-0 at the half. But shortly after intermission, Stafford battled back to tie the score at 2-2 before Tommy Z connected on a rebound off a shot by the Boca Bullet to put Matawan back in front, 3-2.

In the closing minutes, after the Boca Bullet misfired on two attempts and the veteran defender Norm Gardell rang one off the post to nearly seal a victory that would have surely given the Stafford Coach a heart attack, Stafford managed to sneak a shot past the Grumpy Goalie Gooch, who stormed off the field after the game, refusing again to talk to reporters.

“Josh, Justin and Tommy all scored and played outstanding games,” said Boca Coach Eric Brown, sitting in a folding chair as a nurse checked his own blood pressure after the game. “A little leaky defensive play doomed the victory and we settled for the tie, but we’re still undefeated to start the season in our new flight. Nick played one of his best games, as did Kyle, who was a force at midfield all day. Norman gritted out the weekend playing on a bad foot and almost secured the win but hit the post. Overall, I’m very happy with how hard the kids are competing, we just need to clean up a few mistakes and we’ll get after it again this weekend.”

The Stafford game capped a zany week that began Saturday with the Monroe Tournament. Coach Brown filed a police report after several Carteret players mugged several Matawan players throughout the first contest, which Carteret won, 1-0, courtesy of a penalty kick.

After Matawan’s second game vs. Wall ended in a 2-2 tie in regulation, both teams could have easily played the penalty shootout on the same field, but instead, the team was asked to pack up and walk 11 miles beneath a blistering sun to what one league official called “the special penalty kicks field.”

After the Grumpy Goalie Gooch turned aside four of five penalty kicks to out-duel his Wall counterpart and give Matawan the victory and all three tournament teams a 1-1 record, it took league officials - with the help of a team of statisticians from M.I.T. and a nuclear physicist from NASA – six hours to determine that somehow, Matawan finished third.

“The tournament was a lot of fun and the kids played hard against two tough teams,” Coach Brown said as he lay breathing through an oxygen mask in the back of ambulance on Sunday evening, his blood pressure still soaring. “These games are going to kill me.”

Last Weeks Commentary - April 13, 2015  
BY Señor Suave aka Vincent M. Mallozzi

In an electric game that should have aired on Telemundo, Spanish-speaking fans filled the seats at Matawan High School on Sunday to root for East Windsor, a Flight 1 squad last season, to spoil the home-opener for the Boca Juniors, who are coming off their best campaign (9-0-1) in franchise history.

​When it was over, no one needed a translator or an interpreter to understand just how thoroughly the ever-improving Bocas dominated in all phases of the game en route to a 3-0 victory that marked the start of a challenging journey in Flight 3.

“It was a great start to the spring season,” Boca Coach Eric Brown said after the game, sipping a victory shot of Tequila as he spoke to a reporter from the El Diario Newspaper.  “The Boys hustled and competed at a high level against a good team.”

 Justin, who is now known as The Boca Bullet, wowed the crowd with two of his patented speed-rushes to give Matawan a 2-0 lead at the intermission.

“Rapido! Rápido!” - “Fast, Fast” - the East Windsor fans shouted every time Justin advanced the ball.

“The kid has mucho scary speed,” Coach Brown said before knocking down another shot of Tequila.

The Bocas put the game away midway through the second half after a Christian blast hit the post and bounced back to Tommy Z, who promptly banged home the rebound.

As good as the offense was, the defense was mucho, mucho better.

“Our defenders were EXCELENTE all day,” Coach Brown, getting caught up in the atmosphere, said in his best Spanish accent. “We were led by the outstanding play of Evan and Mike Morris in the middle, and Derek, Anthony, Norman and T-Bone also had stellar days on the back-line, and Kyle had yet another outstanding day playing several positions.”

 But the play of the day belonged to the rugged defender Jason. With Matawan clinging to a 1-0 lead, the Grumpy Goalie Gooch partially deflected an East Windsor shot, but the ball trickled behind him and was about to roll across the goal line when a very-alert Jason swooped behind the Gooch and swept the ball out of harm’s way, keeping the shutout intact.

In a rare show of emotion, The Grumpy Goalie Gooch applauded Jason’s stellar effort, but the Gooch once again refused to talk to reporters after the game, choosing instead to retreat to the friendly confines of the locker room, where he began to break down game film of this Saturday’s opponents in the Monroe Tournament.

“The Gooch is in a zone right now, leave him alone,” the veteran defender Norm Gardell said as he stepped between the Gooch and an El Diario reporter trying to get a post-game interview.

“This team does its talking on the field,” Gardell said, “Comprende?”

Midway through the first half of Boca’s crucial match against Peninsula on a patch of frozen farmland in Colts Neck, the Soccer Gods began sending visual messages to Coach Brown and his staff indicating that the young Juniors needed to play with more speed.

Up in the sky, model airplanes zipped in and out of the dark clouds, while on the ground a giant thoroughbred race horse strolled the sidelines.
“We got the message loud and clear, yee-hah” said Coach Brown, who was dressed appropriately in thigh-high leather cowboy boots with matching vest and ten-gallon hat.

With a co-championship on the line, Boca responded by picking up its speed and intensity, and in the closing moments of a tight game, got the game-winning goal from Justin on one of his patented speed rushes that ended with a blast into the top left corner of the Peninsula net.

The 1-0 victory gave Boca an impressive 9-1 record and a share of the championship title with rival Manalapan, which also finished 9-1. Both teams are sure to be moved up in flight.

“What a game!” Coach Brown said after the final whistle, shooting his six-guns into the cold air to celebrate. “Another tough hard fought battle against a really good team. The boys hung tough and we were determined to get the victory and secure a first-place tie with Manalapan. This was another complete team effort.”

 Coach Brown, who, along with Coach Diego and Coach Chris arrived to the game on horseback in a scene straight out of “Bonanza,” was quick to spread praise throughout for a Boca team that allowed just 5 goals in 10 games this season.

“The Gooch was kept busy all day, and he made some outstanding and aggressive plays to keep Peninsula off of the score sheet,” said Coach Brown, taking a swig of whiskey from a canteen as he spoke. “Our team defense was outstanding, anchored by a rock solid Michael Morris who played his best game of the year. In fact all of our defenders were excellent, including Norman, Anthony, Tommy T-Bones and Jason, and Derek used his speed against Peninsula’s best player and kept him from getting too many scoring chances. Offensively Tommy Z. had numerous runs and great crosses all day. Evan was setting up nice passes. Josh and Justin were aggressive and Kyle was a machine at midfield. Zander, Chris and Nick also made contributions on each side of the ball.”

The Grumpy Goalie Gooch, sticking to form, refused again to talk to reporters after notching his fourth shutout of the season, but several of his teammates, who were boarding a stage coach on their way to celebrate at a local saloon, swore they saw the Gooch flash his first smile of the season immediately after the hard-fought, high-stakes contest.

“I think I saw the Gooch smile, though it may have been just his teeth chattering on a very cold day,” said the veteran defender Norm Gardell.

But there was no mistaking the huge grin on the face of Coach Brown as he saddled his horse after the game.

“The coaches are just so proud of these kids,” Coach Brown said. “They continue to improve each and every week. This was the best season we have had and we couldn't be happier for the boys.”

“Yeeee-hah,” Coach Brown yelped as he rode off into the night, his six-guns ablazin’, “Yeee-hah!!!”

November 10, 2014
So where was all of that booming and disturbing noise coming from during Boca’s 2-0 victory at Toms River on Sunday? Was the Army testing nuclear weapons? Was Godzilla strolling over from Tokyo? Were aliens landing? Were Porta Pottys exploding?
“We could barely hear ourselves think out there,” said Boca Coach Eric Brown, who attempted to get rid of a monster headache after the game by washing down a half-dozen Tylenol pills, and a bag of salted peanuts, with a 48-ounce watermelon Gatorade. 
While the loud and distracting noises continued to pierce ear drums as far south as Atlantic City, the Boca Juniors – each of them wearing ear plugs supplied by Coach Diego before the game – managed to keep their focus, improving their record to 8-1 and hanging in a first-place tie with Manalapan with one game remaining for each team.
While the mysterious thumping sounds continued all around them, the Juniors began making their own noise midway through the first half of a physical contest when Tommy Z, playing fast, smart and tough, raced out along the left side and blasted a shot over the outstretched arms of the Toms River goalie to put Boca ahead, 1-0. 
In the second half, the speedy Justin blew past three defenders and stormed the net before unleashing a shot that gave Boca a commanding 2-0 lead.
When asked what he thought of his team’s overall performance, Coach Chris, who chose not to wear his ear plugs, said “What? What? I can’t hear you.”
For the third straight week, Boca played a complete game, getting stellar efforts from Evan, who played a brilliant game quarterbacking the offense, and Jason and Tommy T-Bones, who were rock-solid on defense. Josh, who returned from a Caribbean vacation that was negotiated into his contract before the start of the season, was a force on offense, fighting for loose balls and finding teammates with sharp passes. Kyle, Norman and Mike Morris played mistake-free soccer, as did Nick Brown, Joe, Chris V. and ‘Zander.
“This team is on a roll,” said Coach Brown, his eyes covered by a sleeping mask and his head topped by a heating pad as he settled in for a short nap in the back seat of his truck.
The Grumpy Goalie Gooch, who notched his third shutout of the year, refused to talk to reporters after the game, as has become his custom. He chose instead to retreat to the locker room and begin studying game film on West Long Branch, next week’s opponent in Boca’s season finale.
“The Gooch, like the rest of us, will continue to do his talking on the field!” the veteran defender Norm Gardell shouted over a series of sonic booms after the game. “We still have a lot of noise to make next week!” 
November 3, 2014


How much of an impact did the wintry weather conditions have on Boca’s 3-1 victory over visiting Howell on Sunday?

Well, consider the fact that the game-winning goal was scored by, or at least credited to - the wind.

“I was blowing around pretty good out there,” the wind, in a fierce November mood, said after the game in which the frozen Juniors improved their record to 7-1 and remained in a first-place tie with Manalapan.

“I was responsible for blowing Michael Morris’ corner kick off of a Howell defender and into the net,” the wind howled with delight. “I also gave the Grumpy Goalie Gooch a bit of a windy fit in the second half - I’ve been known to play tricks like that in the past.”

Coach Eric Brown, sporting a jet-black full-length mink coat and matching ear muffs and leggings along the sideline on a bitter-cold and blustery day, said in a shivering voice that “it was a t-t-t-tough day to play soccer with that wind and cold.”

“B-B-B-But the boys hung in there,” said Coach Brown, slipping a ski mask over his head as he spoke. “Michael Morris had fantastic corner kicks all day and Tommy Z. played an outstanding game, coming so close several times to scoring. He was a beast all over the field. Evan also made some beautiful passes setting up numerous offensive runs and Norman and Kyle and everyone else also p-p-p-played great games.”

The speedy Justin opened the scoring in the first half with a nifty run that resulted in a blast into the upper left-hand corner of the net. His father Chad, of Chad’s Gambling Service, cheered wildly from beneath a pile of army blankets as Boca was on its way to covering the two-goal spread.

In the second half, the veteran defender Norm Gardell, sipping a cup of hot chocolate as he raced up the field, connected on a long-range shot against the wind that was perfectly placed over the head of the Howell goalie, who remained frozen in place after an ill-advised stroll from his net.

Just as the Grumpy Goalie Gooch seemed headed for his third straight shutout, the wind returned with a vengeance, blowing around a Howell corner kick in front of the net until the ball was finally booted by a Howell player past The Gooch, who gave inquiring reporters nothing but ice-cold stares after the game.

“This was a t-t-total team effort,” said Coach Brown, shaking from the frozen, wicked wind despite wearing his favorite pair of thigh-high furry Eskimo boots, which he continued to wear even after jumping into a hot tub after the game. “Everyone c-c-c-contributed to this victory,” he said.

October 27, 2014

The trash talking began long before the start of Boca’s game against visiting Manalapan on Sunday.

“Look at how filthy this place is,” said Chad, of Chad’s Gambling Service, as his eyes swept across the bleachers at Matawan High School, which was littered with paper cups, napkins, empty soda cans, cardboard trays and a ton of other debris.

Playing before a crowd that sat in and around the assorted garbage - leftovers from a Matawan football game - the Grumpy Goalie Gooch and his Boca teammates managed to keep a clean sheet and defeat Manalapan, 1-0, in a game that left the heated rivals with identical 6-1 records and locked in a first-place tie with three games left on their respective schedules.

“It was a great win for our boys,” said Coach Eric Brown, picking up a broom and dustpan and heading to the bleachers as he spoke. “The boys really wanted to win this game and showed their determination.”

Perhaps the most determined player on the field was the speedy Justin, who broke loose midway through the first half for a breakaway goal, taking advantage of a Manalapan defender who had slipped on one of the many hot dog wrappers swirling around the field.

“The game bounced back and forth with both teams carrying the play for stretches,” said Coach Brown, sweeping small packets of mustard and ketchup into his dustpan as he spoke. “Justin used his speed and skill to get past their defense and scored. The Gooch again was impenetrable and registered his second straight shutout.” 

As Coach Brown began hosing down the bleachers with Clorox, he singled out several other players who performed some of the more spectacular dirty work.

“Josh played an outstanding, aggressive game, and Tommy Z. was a force at forward in the first half and then at midfield in the second half, continuously slowing down Manalapan’s attack as they tried to equalize the score.”

There were plenty of others who played a spotless game before a large crowd that clearly did not include members of the Department of Sanitation.

“Chris Villanueva played his best game ever for Boca,” Coach Brown noted. “Kyle was solid at midfield, and our defense, led by Norman, Jason, Evan, Anthony, Michael Morris and Tommy T-Bones, was excellent.

“Really, this was just a complete team effort,” said Coach Brown, who began spraying his contaminated soccer balls with a healthy dose of Lysol. “Every player contributed to this victory and that’s the most important part. That is what we want to continue - complete team efforts.”

The Grumpy Goalie Gooch continued to ignore reporters and remained silent after the game despite being peppered with questions about Boca’s rematch against visiting Howell next Sunday. By then, Matawan High School officials will have hopefully cleaned up their act.

“The Gooch’s message is simple,” said the veteran defender Norm Gardell, sidestepping a trail of peanut shells and wads of discarded bubble gum as he walked off the field. “He would rather play in the trash than talk trash.”

October 20, 2014


This Boca game story is brought to you by the letter J...

Justin, Justin, Josh, Justin and Josh, that’s how the goal-scoring went in Boca’s joyful and jubilant 5-0 shutout victory at Rumson on Sunday.

“Jazzy Joyride J-Men,” a Jacked-up Pomp tweeted from the parking lot after the game.

Boca’s latest joyride improved its record to 5-1 and set the stage for a first-place showdown with conference rival Manalapan at Strathmore Field this Sunday.

“I thought the boys challenged themselves to play well, knowing that we were missing four players,” said Boca Coach Eric Brown, doing jumping jacks as he spoke. “All the kids stepped up and played well, and I’m very proud of them all. Justin recorded the hat trick and Josh added another two goals.”

 Indeed, every Boca player stepped up his game, including Michael “The Enforcer” Morris, who was nowhere to be found during warm-ups but emerged from the woods seconds before the game started in a scene straight out of the movie “Field of Dreams.”

Coach Brown, who was so excited by the victory that he began jogging in place after completing his jumping jacks, recognized other magical performances on Sunday.

“Tommy Z. played outstanding, serving up beautiful passes all over the field and collecting a couple of assists,” he said. “Joe and Tommy T-Bone each had a terrific game and Kyle was all over the field playing well and determined, and our defense, led by Norman and Jason, was outstanding.”

The Grumpy Goalie Gooch – who has remained silent all season - refused to discuss his shutout performance after the game, choosing instead to retreat to the locker room and begin studying game film on Manalapan, which defeated Boca in a 1-0 heart-breaker the last time the two teams met.

Chad’s Gambling Service, which no one uses or pays attention to, has established an early Pick-Em line for Sunday’s highly-anticipated showdown.

When asked if he had revenge on his mind, the Gooch, clearly agitated, simply brushed past a group of reporters, leaving it up to Coach Brown to fill their notepads.

“We’re 5 -1 and in second place,” said Coach Brown, who by now was perspiring heavily and nearly out of breath. “This Sunday we are playing Manalapan, it’s a big game as they are the only team that has beat us so far, but if we can find a way to beat them and tie them for first place...”

Before he could finish his thought, Coach Brown, emotionally and physically exhausted, collapsed.

Stay tuned...

October 06, 2014


One week after Toms River coaches arrived in Matawan without their identification cards, more confusion reigned at Strathmore Field when West Long Branch arrived to play Boca on Sunday with its 45-man football team instead of its soccer team. West Long Branch added to the confusion by dressing members of its football team in what appeared to be white tennis outfits.

“What’s going on here?” Pomp, wearing a baseball cap, basketball shorts and ice skates tweeted from the parking lot before the game. “Which West Long Branch team are we playing? What sport is this?”

Rather than wait around to find out, Boca - playing without the savvy, injured Christian and the gritty, vacationing Norm Gardell - stormed the field and played its best game of the year, defeating a fine group of athletes (in any sport), 2-1.

 The Juniors struck first after Justin recovered a West Long Branch fumble inside the box and promptly scored. In the second half, Josh also returned a fumble for a score, cashing in after the opposing goalkeeper failed to hang on to a long, driving Boca kick, to put his team ahead, 2-0.

“West Long Branch was tough, a real good team,” Boca Coach Eric Brown said after the game while re-stringing his tennis racket. “Our boys hung tough, we scored on aggressive plays, we defended well and we got outstanding play from Tommy Z., who played his best game of the fall, and tremendous goaltending from the Gooch.”

Indeed, The Grumpy Goalie Gooch was razor sharp in net, fending-off waves of 11-man substitutions and stopping all but one rebound that slipped past him just before the two-minute warning.

Though jubilant Boca parents and inquiring reporters swarmed all around him in the winner's circle after the game, The Gooch continued to maintain his silence, though one of his teammates spoke for him.

“The Gooch is already focusing on next weekend’s Hazlet Tournament,” the veteran midfielder Kyle Hunter explained after the physical game in which he was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. “The Gooch is in a zone right now so leave him be.”

Coach Brown was also in a zone – The Twilight Zone – after the confusing game.

 “The boys picked up their play in the second half, they battled and competed hard for the victory, frame by frame, pitch by pitch, shift by shift, one lap at a time,” a dazed and confused Coach Brown said. “Now we move on to the tournament next weekend in Hazlet. We’ll be playing all tough teams which will be a challenging experience for the boys, who will have to raise their level of play, no matter what sport they end up playing.”

September 29, 2014


Just minutes before the start of Sunday’s contest against visiting Toms River, Boca assistant coach Diego rushed to the sidelines and called a parents meeting to announce that the Toms River coaches had forgotten to bring along their identification cards, and, oh yeah, that soccer jerseys were on sale at Modell’s. In fact, the only piece of proper identification Toms River could produce was the driver’s license belonging to their 6-foot-4-inch, muscle-bound defender who had a voice deeper than Pavarotti’s.

Therefore, Coach Diego announced, Boca would take a forfeit victory – improving its record to 3-1 - but the game would go on as a sort of “friendly” between the two teams.

“Who forgets their ID cards?” Pomp tweeted from home, where he remained stranded after forgetting where he placed his car keys.

“The rule is that they cannot play unless they have their cards, so they had to forfeit,” said Boca Coach Eric Brown, who went to high school with that Toms River defender. “This is not the way we want to get a win but that is the rule. We decided to let the kids play a friendly since we were all there ready to go. Bottom line is the kids just want to play, win lose or draw, they just want to play and that’s why we do this.”

Chad’s Gambling Service, which posted a “Pick ‘Em” line before the game, was spot on as both teams fought to a scoreless first half and an eventual tie. Justin opened the scoring early in the second half, taking advantage of a rare mistake by that Toms River defender – who was busy texting his wife – by beating him to a loose ball and blasting a shot past the Toms River goalie into the net.

With 10 seconds remaining in the game, Toms River got a key call from none other than Boca assistant Coach Chris, who served as head referee for the second half with a whistle that did not work (the real refs, upon declaring a forfeit, took the money and ran).

When the veteran defender Norm Gardell mugged a Toms River player in the box, Coach Chris blew his whistle, and this time it worked, allowing Toms River a penalty kick that darted past the Grumpy Goalie Gooch, who refused to answer questions after losing his shutout but was heard muttering to himself something about the first hometown call in history that went against the home town.

“We played a solid game,” Coach Brown said after the game as he and that Toms River defender shared photos of their children with one another. “The boys did a nice job of possessing the ball. Lots of nice passing and communicating. We also defended well. We are still struggling to get shots off and score goals, so we’ll keep working at that during training.”

Coach Brown was also quick to praise his old high school buddy.

“We had a hard time getting past their tree of a kid, #8, who is still phenomenal after all these years,” Coach Brown said. “I mean he looked older than the goalie from Watchung Hills last year who drove to the game with his three kids. I could not believe how big he was, he stopped almost every through ball we attempted. I hear his oldest son is a great college soccer player, like he was.”

September 22, 2014


Shortly after Boca stung Howell by a score of 5-1 on Sunday, the veteran defender Norm Gardell was asked what motivated the Juniors to run up and down the field as if their lives depended on it.

Was it an emotional pep talk by the coaching staff in the wake of a sleepy performance last week against Manalapan?

Was it the extra hours put forth on the practice field?

Was it Coach Tyler’s training finally kicking in?

“Not at all,” said Gardell, running to his car with a fly-swatter in hand after the lopsided road victory. “It was all those bees out there, we were trying to avoid getting stung and were basically running for our lives.”

Despite playing in a veritable hornet’s nest, Gardell and company enjoyed their most satisfying victory of the year, producing a sweeter-than-honey performance in which every player contributed.

“The kids came determined today,” said head coach Eric Brown, who strolled the sidelines wearing a Hazmat suit. “They realized their talent and what they can do when they come wanting to play as hard as they can. The coaches are so proud of the kids, they pulled themselves out of an early season funk. Every player contributed to the cause, that is what a team is about!”

After falling behind 1-0, Boca got the equalizer from Justin and proceeded to dominate, getting a combined four more goals from Josh, Joe and a pair from Evan. The Grumpy Goalie Gooch, looking stylish in a bright orange and black jersey – which the bees found exceptionally attractive - created by his personal fashion designer, Diego, stopped a penalty shot in the closing moments.

The Boca parents, awash in ointments and Band-aids, would have surely cheered if they weren't so busy bee-ing terrorized.

“Chris Villanueva played his best game to date, he was a force up front with his speed and reckless abandon,” said Coach Brown as a swarm of killer bees tried biting thought his Hazmat helmet. “Kyle, Justin and Tommy were ultra consistent and did their jobs well, while T-Bone, Derek, Jason and Anthony played supreme defense.”

(As has become his tradition, the Grumpy Goalie Gooch refused to answer questions during the game, though TMZ later reported that he was angry with Coach Diego for not designing a Hazmat suit for him as well.)

Boca, installed as an early two-goal favorite by Chad’s Gambling Service, easily covered the spread, putting a little extra cash in the pocket of Dave Hunter, who was clearly heard placing a bet with his bookie before the game. (Mr. Hunter, who was stung several times during the contest, later said he would put his winnings toward medical treatment).

Despite the bee fest, Coach Brown could not stop bumbling, er, babbling, about his young Juniors after the game.

“All I’m saying is this is what Boca is about and what the kids can do,” he said. “I hope this is the start to a nice run of competitive play.”

September 15, 2014


In the wake of a lackluster 1-0 defeat at Manalapan on Sunday, Boca Coach Eric Brown, desperate to light a fire under his sleepy Juniors, immediately added the Energizer Bunny to his coaching staff.

“I’m happy to help inspire these talented young men,” said the Energizer Bunny, banging his drum as he spoke. “I hear Coach Brown is hopping mad over this.”

Indeed he is.

“We lost a game today by giving it away,” Coach Brown said after the game as he and his beleaguered coaching staff passed out 5-Hour Energy drinks to players on the Boca bench. “We lost to a team we were absolutely better than. Our guys started slowly once again despite efforts by the coaches to get their blood flowing in pregame warm ups.”

Though Boca failed to exhibit the kind of hustle and teamwork that has become their trademark in recent years, they did have several scoring chances, including three spectacular breakaway efforts by the super-speedy Justin, and an early, glorious opportunity by the veteran Stormin’ Norman, who couldn’t get enough mustard on a left-footed shot into an open net.“No one attacked the ball,” Coach Brown said, as he and assistant coaches Diego and Chris broke down game film, via satellite, with the Energizer Bunny.

“We all stood around watch waiting for someone else to do the work... completely unacceptable. .. I don’t know what everyone did this summer but the kids’ minds are elsewhere right now.”

Boca’s sleepy performance prompted the team’s sponsor, Duracell, to cut its financial ties to the team, but Coach Brown remained optimistic. 

“We will use today as a teaching tool and move forward,” said Coach Brown, yawning loudly as he spoke. “I can and will from all the coaches tell you that the kids will be on their toes next game - we are too talented to give games away like this.” 

After the game, rumors also began circulating that the Grumpy Goalie Gooch had contacted his attorney, as he is considering suing his teammates for lack of support.

Though reporters flocked to his locker after the game, the Gooch continued his stubborn policy of not talking to the press. Instead, he whisked past reporters and disappeared into the safety of the trainer’s room, where he proceeded to take a long nap.


September 7, 2014


Seagulls were circling the Matawan High School soccer field on a sunny and scorching Sunday morning when the referees rolled out what appeared to be a beach ball to start Boca’s season-opening contest against visiting Rumson.

Still stuck in the hazy-lazy days of summer, the refs mistakenly started the game at 12 Noon, Pacific Coast Time, making late arrivals of everyone but Coach Eric Brown’s Boca Juniors, who were summoned to the field hours earlier in an effort to rub the sand out of their eyes and be fully awake for their 2014 Fall debut.

Despite the preparation, the Boca Juniors played the first half as if they were still on summer break, missing numerous scoring chances against an opponent that had been installed as a solid 2-goal underdog by Chad’s Gambling Service, which establishes a betting line before each game that no one pays attention to.

“We opened the day dominating play but could not score,” said Coach Brown, placing his surf board on the roof-rack of his car after the game. “We showed rust from not playing since Memorial Day weekend – the kids were showing signs of still being on summer vacation.”

That rust finally began to wear off in the opening minutes of the second half as Christian, picking up where he left off last season, wowed Pomp and other fans who were still getting into their seats by scoring on a breakaway to put Boca ahead, 1-0.

“Wow!” Pomp shouted after the goal. “Wow!”

Minutes later, Christian struck again, taking a nifty pass from Josh and drilling the ball past the Rumson goalkeeper to give the home team what seemed like a commanding 2-0 lead.

“We started playing better in the second half and finally broke through,” said Coach Brown, applying sun-tan oil to his arms and legs as he spoke.

Midway through the second half it became clear that the speedy Justin, who tweaked an ankle in the first half, was not going to return to action despite the fact that Chad’s Gambling Service has posted even-money odds that he would return.

With Justin on the bench, Rumson’s transition game began heating up, and it wasn’t long before one of them fired a missile past the grumpy goalie Gooch, who refused to smile despite the fact that he was sporting a snazzy new uniform provided by Coach Diego, the Gooch’s personal fashion designer.

May 19, 2013

The surging Boca Juniors all chipped in on Sunday to give visiting Watchung Hills and their 32-year-old goalkeeper a memorable going-away present.

“Every player on the team made a positive contribution,” Boca Coach Eric Brown said after his squad avenged an earlier loss to Watchung Hills with a 2-1 victory before 3 or 4 screaming fans at raucous Matawan High School.  

“That’s what being a team means,” said Coach Brown, who was seen consoling the Watchung goalie’s three small children after the game. “Everyone contributes to the cause.”

 After trailing 1-0 at halftime, Justin burned the Watchung defenders with his blinding speed to knot things up at 1-1. And even though Father’s Day is fast-approaching, a determined Boca squad had no interest in giving the Watchung goalie a tie. Instead, Tommy broke that tie with his first goal of the season.

“The passing today and the communication between the players was outstanding,” Coach Brown said while tucking the Watchung goalie’s youngest child into her car seat. “The kids were energized and wanted that victory. Kyle played his best game to date for Boca and Gooch once again was outstanding.”

Though he refused to talk to reporters once again, the Grumpy Goalie Gooch did manage to crack a rare smile on the handshake line after the game when the Watchung Hills goalie said to him: “Great game Gooch, you remind me of myself when I was a 12-year old goalie 20 years ago.”

With their victory, the Boca Juniors, who had been elevated to Flight 5, finished with a very impressive record of 4-4-2, finishing 5th in the 10-team flight.

“I’m so proud of every player on this team,” Coach Brown said to the Watchung goalie’s oldest son, who plays in the 14U division. “Every one of them played great today and were determined to win. Now on to the Manalapan Tournament and let’s see if we can do some damage.”

But the damage had already been done to the Watchung goalie, who sped off with his wife and three kids in their BMW after the game while shouting to no one in particular, “I’ll be back next season, and the season after that, and the season after that...” 

May 12, 2013

Every rose has its thorn.

That pretty much sums up Boca’s trip to Livingston on Mother’s Day, a day in which each mom received a rose, while the young Juniors received a thorn from Livingston in the form of a 2-0 loss.

“Terrible game yesterday, all of the kids were sleep walking,” Boca Coach Eric Brown said between yawns after the game. “Livingston was decent but we made them look like superstars.”

Boca, playing without Christian in their away red-pajamas, did indeed play as if Coach Brown hit the Snooze Button before the game.

“Not much to say other than the kids had no energy at all,” said Coach Brown as he fluffed up his car seat pillow in preparation for the long ride home. “We got beat to every loose ball, every 50/50 ball. We passed too slow, we ran too slow – you name it, we did it wrong. We asked the kids if there was a team party Saturday night that we didn’t know about.”

The Grumpy Goalie Gooch, who faced more shots in this game than in any other this season, enjoyed a glass of warm milk and a nap at halftime, but again refused to talk to reporters after the game.

The veteran defender Michael Morris said that he and his teammates need to “wake up and smell the roses we gave to our moms.”

“It’s time to wake up,” added Morris, who has already set his alarm clock for next week’s home finale vs. Watchung Hills as well as a slew of games the following week in the Manalapan Memorial Tournament.

“Winning the Manalapan Tournament,” said the veteran defender Norm Gardell, who was reached for comment at the top of his bunk bed, “is something that we’ve been dreaming about.”

May 5, 2013

Ever hear of a soccer team that got the wind knocked into them?

That’s exactly what happened to a surging Boca squad on Sunday as they literally blew away Monroe, 4-1, seemingly energized by the vicious 80-mile-per-hour winds at Monroe that left at least one Wicked Witch dead and the Boca Juniors alive and kicking with a .500 record (3-3-1). Boca could have used some of that strong wind in its sails against visiting Somerset Hills on Saturday in a game that ended in a 0-0 tie.

“We fought hard on Saturday, struggling with a lack of energy, but we just dominated today,” said Boca Coach Eric Brown who was seen squinting after the game as a fierce twister had blown away his eyeglasses late in the second half.

After falling behind by 1-0 early, Boca rallied for two goals late in the first half on a blast by Christian and a clutch goal by Justin who managed to get off a sneaky shot during a scramble in front of the Monroe net. The winds of change continued to blow in the second half as Boca put the game away on yet another goal by Christian and a career-first tally for the ever-emerging, ever-improving Joe.

“It was a better day to fly a kite than kick a soccer ball around in a dust storm,” said the rugged veteran Norm Gardell who began the game on defense but was whisked up to offense by a mini-tornado midway through the contest.

For lack of a better phrase, Coach Brown was long-winded after the game in praising his players.

“Christian picked up two more goals, Justin added another and congratulations to Joe on his first ever goal, which proves that hard work pays off,” Coach Brown said while crawl-searching for his eyeglasses in the vast woods behind the playing field. “Joe is by far our most improved player, and our defense was again outstanding all weekend, led in dominant form by Mike Morris and Evan. As for Jason, he played the best two games of his career this weekend.”

“Kyle and Tommy were also outstanding,” Coach Brown added, “they switched from midfield to defense to offense all weekend.”

Coach Brown praised the Grumpy Goalie Gooch, who posted his second clean sheet of the season, for “eating up everything that came into his area,” but the Gooch again wanted no part of it, leaving a pack of reporters with empty notepads after the game.

“The Gooch is on a roll right now, leave him be,” Coach Brown said after finding his eyeglasses in a birds-nest atop a small fig tree three miles from the field. “I am extremely proud of the Gooch and every other player on this team.”

April 28, 2013

It was another productive weekend for the Boca Juniors, who continued to show how far they have come as a team after dropping a Saturday home game to Watchung Hills by the slimmest of margins (2-1), before rebounding in an exciting way to tie a visiting Bridgewater squad, 2-2, that entered Sunday’s game with an undefeated record.

“These Boca kids are getting incredibly better each year,” said the Watchung Hills goalie, a 27-year old veteran whose three sons were cheering for him throughout the game. “That Justin kid is outrageous, and he’s going to be even better 15 years from now when he is my age and his coaches use him as a ringer.”

Justin was indeed outrageous, using his blinding speed and veteran savvy to score all three goals this weekend.

“Justin was outstanding all weekend long,” said an elated Boca Coach Eric Brown, who noted that his squad had been thumped by the same Watchung Hills team last season by a whopping score of 6-0. “Week after week, we continue to close the gap against opposing teams.”

Coach Brown noted that many of his other players shined like the fiery red Corvette that the Watchung Hills goalie had driven into the Strathmore parking lot.

“Tommy was especially outstanding today, he was all over midfield causing chaos for Bridgewater,” Coach Brown said. “Our defense was especially outstanding, including Derek, Michael Morris, Evan and Jason, and Kyle also had a strong game at midfield. I’m so proud of every player on this team.”

Though the grumpy goalie Gooch refused to talk to reporters yet again, Coach Brown said of his stellar performance against Bridgewater that “Gooch re-established himself as a goalkeeping force in this flight.”

One other goalie agreed with that assessment.

“The Gooch doesn’t say much but he does all of his talking on the field,” said the Watchung Hills goalie, who was reached for comment at the condo he owns in Jersey City, where he lives with his wife and three kids. “The Gooch may even grow up to be better than me someday - only time will tell.”

April 16, 2013

On a day when the Boca Juniors were in dire need of a pick-me-up, they got a red-hot Cup of Joe.

Mild-mannered Joe, filling in Saturday for a few missing teammates against a visiting Berkeley Heights squad that survived an apparent Tsunami that went unreported around the globe, put together the breakout performance of his career, finishing with a pair of assists and just missing a glorious scoring chance in a 4-1 victory that improved Boca’s record to 2-2 on the season.

“I just go out every day in practice and give it my best,” Joe said after the game while signing autographs for members of his newly found fan club. “When the coaches call my number, I’m ready to contribute.”

Despite three more goals from Christian – who is denying reports of wanting to renegotiate his contract - and another tally from Justin in what turned out to be a wire-to-wire victory, Coach Eric Brown, albeit thrilled, saw room for improvement.

“We did not play our best game today but the boys found a way to pull out the win,” Coach Brown said over the popping sounds of Champagne corks and beer can tabs in a jubilant Boca locker room. “We won despite a short-handed squad, we had only two subs and Nick Brown trying admirably to play despite being sick.”.

Enter Joe, who played equally brilliant on defense and offense against a Berkeley Heights team still weighed down by soaking wet uniforms despite the brilliant sunshine.

“Give Joe credit,” Christian said after the game in which he notched his league-leading seventh goal of the season amid the hometown chants of ‘M-V-P, M-V-P...’ “The kid stepped up when we needed him most.”

Coach Brown, who dodged questions about Christian’s contractual status before and after the game, acknowledged others who also stepped up their performances.

“The grumpy Gooch performed well again behind a stingy defense for a second week led by a dominant Mike Morris,” Coach Brown said. “Kyle and Evan and Jason played standout defense again for a second week in in a row, Tommy and Justin were again a force at midfield and Zander also played perhaps his best game to date.”

April 7, 2013

No one was in the mood to kiss their sister on Saturday in Newark, where the surging Boca Juniors won their first game of the season, a 3-0 shutout of the home team.

Last season, Boca tied this same Newark squad on two occasions, prompting a fired-up Pomp to shout in the direction of both teams “hey fellas, a tie is like kissing your sister!”

Boca, a team vastly-improved in recent years under the fiery head coach Eric Brown and his crafty and soft-spoken assistants Diego and Chris, showed exactly why league officials opted to elevate them to Group 5 (from Group 7) after last season, putting forth an all-around team effort and excelling in every phase of the game.

 On a chilly afternoon where most parents were able to keep warm by scrambling for quarters to feed corrupt weekend parking meters, Christian continued his torrid start with a pair of goals, and Justin bounced back from a major league bellyache to give Newark a major league headache with one of his patented breakaway rushes that resulted in Boca taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the early stages of the second half.

But it all started with defense, as a beaming Coach Brown was quick to point out after the game in which Boca improved its record to 1-2.

“Evan and Mike Morris were shut-down on defense and Justin and Tommy were too much for Newark to handle at midfield,” Coach Brown said. “Christian and Norman at striker played aggressive and made nice passes and crosses all day, and Evan’s corner kicks were all outstanding as well.”

And then of course, there was the grumpy-yet talented net-minder Gooch, who put together his first clean sheet of the season and began rounding into the form that allowed him to achieve the league’s lowest goals-against average last season. Despite the victory and his stellar play, the Gooch refused to talk to reporters for a third-straight week.

“As long as the Gooch continues to do his talking on the field, that’s all that really matters to this organization,” said the midfielder Kyle Hunter, who also played a stellar game.

While Coach Brown did not have the answer as to why parking meters were in effect on a Saturday, he had all the right answers on the playing field.

“This is the Boca team we all know,” Coach Brown said while peeling a parking ticket off of his windshield, “this was a truly great game.”

Despite the fact that Boca won its second straight game, the aforementioned grumpy goalie Gooch refused to talk to reporters for a fourth straight week, and chose to watch game film rather than enjoy a post-game toast with his teammates.

“Gooch is in a zone right now so cut him some slack,” the veteran defender Norm Gardell told reporters after the game. “He’s keeping his focus on the field and does not want to be distracted.”

Saturday’s game was supposed to be played on the road, but the unreported Tsunami forced Berkeley Heights players and coaches to board rafts and set sail for Matawan. They washed up on the shores of Cliffwood Beach, from which they departed - with a loss.

“It’s the sign of a good team when you can find a way to win despite not playing your best,” Coach Brown said as he bid a Bon Voyage to Berkeley. “I’m very proud of everyone on this team.”

March 23, 2013

Boca Coach Eric Brown saw his team squander a 1-0 lead on Sunday and eventually lose to host Woodbridge, 3-2. It was the second straight week that Brown's Boca squad had surrendered an early lead and been defeated by the narrowest of margins. Still, Coach Brown remained optimistic, knowing full-well that his vastly improved squad, which played in Flight 7 last fall, is still adjusting to life after being elevated to Flight 5.

"Our team is right there with the other teams in this flight," Coach Brown said after a reportedly emotional post-game, closed-door meeting with his squad. "We need to clean up a few mistakes and we'll be winning some games. We keep working and get better and never ever quit! We'll be fine."

Despite missing the veteran striker Justin and the dependable defender Derek, the Boca Juniors got on the board first thanks to some nifty teamwork started by Nick, who easily played the finest all-around game of his career. Nick fed Evan up the field who found Christian for a breakaway attempt that resulted in Christian's second goal of the season.

"What a play," Pomp yelled from behind a half-cracked window on a frigid breezy afternoon. "These kids have mad skills."

Though Woodbridge scored the next three goals, Evan cut the deficit to 1 after scoring in the second half off of a scramble in front of the net, but Boca, who had one final chance when the ball squirted through the Woodbridge box with 30 seconds remaining, just eluding Christian's magic foot, would get no closer.

"I don't need no press now," a clearly agitated Boca goalie Michael "Gooch" Mallozzi said after the game, refusing to talk to reporters for the second straight week.

But Coach Brown was more than happy to chat with reporters.

"This team never gave up, even when we were down 3-1" he said. "We're definitely heading in the right direction."

Despite playing in a higher flight, the Boca Juniors continue to keep their focus despite persistent rumors of a blockbuster three-team swap that would send one veteran defender packing to Carteret.

"We don't deal in rumors, we deal in facts," said the veteran defender Norman Gardell. "The players who are still on this roster have another game to prepare for next week, everything else will take care of itself.”

March 16, 2013


Coach Eric Brown walked off the field with a short smile on his face, not exactly the kind of look one would expect after his Boca soccer squad squandered a 1-0 lead and lost to Carteret, 2-1 at Matawan High School on Sunday.

"We lost to this same team 3-0 in the fall," Coach Brown noted. "Today's game tells me we have come a long way as a team, so I have reason to be happy.”

Coach Brown and his Boca Juniors were ecstatic in the early minutes of the second half after Christian took a slick pass from Justin at the 20-yard line and sent a low rocket right-to-left past the Carteret goalkeeper to put Boca in front, 1-0.

"I though we had them at that point," Boca defender Michael Morris said after the game. "Up to that point, we were the better team.”

But Carteret kept pressing, tying the contest at 1 apiece midway through the second half and then ending it in dramatic fashion with 30 seconds to go on a high-arching shot placed well above the outstretched fingertips of a clearly frustrated Boca goalie Michael "Gooch" Mallozzi, who refused to talk to reporters after the game.

But Gooch's teammate Kyle Hunter, breathing hard after the loss, spoke for all of his teammates when he said simply: "This is a game we had no business losing."a

Despite the colorful new threads, the Gooch was in his usual bleak mood, refusing to talk to reporters after the hotly contested game, which was put on ice when Evan cashed in on a corner kick to close the scoring at 3-1.

“Evan, Christian, Tommy and Kyle were outstanding today,” Coach Brown said as he slung a beach towel over his shoulder and hopped into his convertible. “Zander and Pasquale played their best games to date and The Gooch was outstanding again, allowing one goal on a terrific shot by the opposition.”

“As for me,” said Coach Brown, wiping a bit of sand off of his sunglasses, “I’m glad to play and shake the rust off. But we need to be better next week. We’ll work hard at practice and get ready for next Sunday. Summer is over – time to play soccer.”