Was 4 years old when he first played soccer, and he hasn’t stopped as he now steps to the sideline to take over the Lady Horsemen program
By Arnie Leshin
His love of soccer and a traveling man, Anthony Cassaro has gone East to West in the United States.
Now he’s found a new home and happiness in Santa Fe. And the St. Michael’s girl’s soccer team has a new head coach, and his arrival here in the Southwest is now home, sweet home.
“I had never been here before,” he said, “but my girl friend’s mother told us good things about Santa Fe, and so here we are, with this coaching position very exciting for me.”
Cassaro said he was playing soccer when he could walk at the age of 4.
That was growing up in Albany, the New York State Capitol, where he attended and played plenty of soccer at Bethlehem High School. At Hunter College in New York City he played for about a year and then attended to academics.
“I learned of the job opening from friends at the Northern Rio Soccer Club,” he said, “and they play and provide soccer instructions at the former race track in Santa Fe.”
Cassaro didn’t wait long. He was already residing in the City Difference and so he contacted St. Michael’s Athletic Director Tom Manning, set up a meeting earlier this week, and it was a done deal.
“I’m really excited about this,” said Cassaro. “Soccer is my sport and to coach it is just great. I’ve heard that St. Michael’s has a good soccer program, and I hope to keep it going.”
Today, he will meet with the team. Monday, he will hold his first practice.
“I’m happy to be here, I can’t wait to get started,” he said, “its just very exciting, great news.”
He has now lived four months in Santa Fe, and he said it’s just a short ride to St. Michael’s, although from upstate New York he journeyed to Portland, Ore., and San Francisco, Calif., where he played mucho soccer. So he has been on the playing field for years, now it’s a coaching job that fell into his lap.
Yes, he loves the sport, but is happy to include landscaping in his resume, and adds that he will have the time to be on the sideline.
It’s the only sport where he’s been on the sideline and the playing field. It’s the only sport that matters to him, and getting a chance to coach matters even him.
At this time, he’s searching for assistant coaches. He’d like to hire his girl friend, but said she’s still in the learning process. Most important, the program welcomes its new head coach following Gerzain Chavez resignation after two seasons.
Prior to that, the Lady Horsemen were coached by Robyn Sedge for three years and lost back-to-back double overtime matches to Albuquerque Hope Christian.
From Chavez’ team, they graduated eight players, including leading scorer Tiana Baca, goalkeeper Megan Burnham, midfielder Maya Chavez, co-captain with Baca and the head coaches daughter.
There’s also having to replace defender Cate Burke, fullback Astrid Giblin, fullback Christina Morrison, defender Kayli Nordby, and tri-captain and defender Kylee Marcus.
But while Baca led the way in scoring, the team will now have more numbers in midfielder Claire Lee, sophomore Olivia Farrar, sophomore Francis Schneider, and junior forward Daisy Smith. All of them can put the ball into the goal, and youngsters Farrar and Schneider now have a season’s experience.
So it appears that Cassaro could have four seniors, one junior, four sophomores, two freshman, and possibly 8th graders. Last year, the varsity had two,and midfielder Claire Patten and keeper Milena Keene will probably remain there, and Schneider, too, after coming up from the junior varsity and having an impressive season.
Under Ed Velie, the girls won four state titles. In the last six seasons under the three head coach, the program has won 132 times and lost 30 matches. In Santa Fe, the Lady Horsemen have had the upper hand versus Santa Fe High, Capital, Desert Academy, and has been challenged at times by Santa Fe Prep.
In fact, St. Michael’s had won 40 straight district games before losing last year to a young Prep team.
But the important thing now is to have a new head coach, meet the team, practice, and go on to another impressive campaign.
That fits right into Cassaro’s thoughts.