LYNN —The Madison Park boys’ soccer team suffered its toughest loss of the season on Thursday night at the Manning Bowl in Lynn.
But the 1-0 double overtime loss to St. John’s Prep in the MIAA Division 1 North boys’ soccer semifinal might not be as tough to take as the losing their coach, Joao Gomes, and best player, Bill Tuloe, next year.
Tuloe will likely play for the New England Revolutions youth development program Under-16 team next year.
After guiding the second-seeded Cardinals (14-2-3) to four straight city championships this year, Gomes will leave after a decade coaching the team because he wants to watch his son play soccer for the Waltham prep school Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall.
Gomes said he only saw his son play twice this season.
“It reinforced when I went to see him play yesterday,” Gomes said of his decision to not coach next year. “[I want to] go and carry his bag. He has three more years. Once that opportunity goes, you can’t have that back.”
Tuloe, who was named to the New England Revolution Academy Under-16 team in August, said he never played a game for the Revs Academy because his paperwork has yet to be cleared by FIFA. According to the Revs Academy website, players participating on a US Soccer Development Academy (i.e. U-16 group or older for a MLS Academy) are not eligible to play for their high school team.
“They just have to check a lot of stuff,” the sophomore forward said. “It’s not a disappointment, I’m waiting to have that chance to play for them. It’s a great opportunity. I just have to keep my head up and go out there and do my thing.
“Everybody [on Madison Park] understands you have to take one step forward. If you have the opportunity to move forward in your life you just have to keep going. I would love to [keep playing high school soccer]. I can’t with all the rules and stuff. I don’t make the rules I just have to go by the rules. This was my last opportunity and I came up short.”
Tuloe missed a huge opportunity in the second overtime on Thursday. At the 5:46 mark he missed just left of the net on a breakaway. About two minutes later St. John’s Prep (16-2-3) scored to end the game.
“It was an even match, it’s all part of the game,” Tuloe said. “Everyone comes out to win. We came out here and gave everything we have but it’s all part of the game.”
Junior goalkeeper Joao Rosa made three crucial saves in overtime, including two diving saves, before he gave up the winning goal.
“I hope we have a good team next year,” he said. “All of my defenders are leaving but hopefully we’ll get good defenders. We’re losing our coach, he’s the best coach. [I’ve had] three years with him. He’s a good coach but he wants to retire and go support his son. That’s good.”
Gomes wasn’t going to coach this year either but he returned just before the start of the season because the school couldn’t find a replacement.
“I didn’t want to leave these kids just hanging,” Gomes said. “I wanted to make sure we have someone who understands the Madison park intensity.”
First year assistant coach, Rui Pina, who won four city championships with Madison Park before graduating in 1981, is Gomes’s likely successor. Pina also works in the school's carpentry department.
“I’m going to lose also the seniors that really contributed to our team that we got this far, namely Yanick [Depina], Claudio [Teixeira], Vander [Brito] and Kovin [Ortiz]. Those are the defensive line that I’m going to lose all four of them. But I got some solid kids to work with. Joao our goalie is still going to be around. He played amazing. He did what he needed to do.”
No matter who comes back, Madison Park will still be a contender to win their fifth straight city championships next year.
“That would mean a lot, that would be my fourth,” Rosa said. “That would mean a lot for the team too, for our new head coach, trying to get him one too.”
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