The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

32° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    New coach Anatol looks to build men’s soccer program

    Wilber Bonilla will not return for his senior season at Stony Brook. (Kenneth Ho/The Statesman)

    There will be plenty of familiar faces on the field for the Stony Brook University men’s soccer team. But behind the bench, it will be a whole new set issuing orders.

    New head coach Ryan Anatol will lead the Seawolves this season, his first head coaching job after spending six seasons as an assistant at the University of South Florida and two at Akron. He brings with him an expectation that his team play a fast-paced, balanced style.

    “We want to defend and attack with equal intensity,” Anatol said. “When we get the ball, we want to play attractive soccer and keep the ball on the ground and move the ball quickly, but we want to make sure that when we lose the ball, that we’re jumping on it aggressively to try to win it back right away.”

    Anatol had seen the Seawolves play last fall, when Stony Brook travelled to take on USF.

    “I scouted the team, and then playing against them I knew a little bit of the players,” he said. “I knew it was a good team, and most of all I realized it was a very young team. I knew about the team, but I didn’t know a whole lot about the university.”

    He found out more in February, when he was hired to take the reins. Since then, he’s been impressed by Stony Brook, saying it’s a strong academic school with a good athletic program that he compared to USF in the way it has grown.

    Anatol is joined by assistants Daniel Merida and Phil Ruskin.  All three coaches have experience playing and coaching at the college level.

    Former coach Cesar Markovic resigned in January to take the men’s soccer head coaching position at NJIT.

    The team that Anatol inherited is plenty deep, and Anatol knows it.

    “It’s very exciting knowing that the team has had some success,” he said. “We’ve leant on the seniors quite a bit. They’ve really stepped up as far as their leadership of the team.”

    Defender Kyle McTurk and midfielders Mame Samb, Steven Medwinter and Serigne Sylla make up the Seawolves senior class.

    Also returning is junior midfielder Leonardo Fernandes. A playmaker since he first put on a Seawolves jersey, Fernandes earned America East Midfielder of the Year honors last season and will don the 10 shirt for Stony Brook this year.

    Wilber Bonilla, a highly touted transfer student brought in by Markovic, decided to leave the program to pursue a professional career. Bonilla spent two largely unproductive years with the Seawolves, struggling to produce and get playing time with Fernandes holding down the center midfield job.

    Anatol said he’s not sure where Bonilla is, but that he heard he was going for tryouts at several clubs and would be finishing his degree elsewhere.

    The Seawolves also hope that new players, including junior college transfer Charlie Jones and Norwegian freshman Sverre Ofstad, will make an impact.

    “We expect a lot out of all the new guys,” Anatol said.

    The Seawolves were picked to finish in fourth in the preseason poll, middle of the table in the eight-team America East. But Anatol puts little stock in preseason rankings.

    He said that because of his lack of familiarity with the conference, Anatol hasn’t set goals for the team but let them do it themselves. Instead, he and his staff are focused on building the foundation of the program they hope to develop.

    “[The players] set some lofty goals,” Anatol said. “But for me and the staff, it’s really what we are doing every day. We want to build a program. I know what a good team looks like, and what a good program looks like…for me, that’s the focus. Making sure they have the right attitude.”

    He said that on the locker room door, there’s a sign that reminds the players to be prepared, have a good attitude and put forth a good effort.

    “Our focus is on how we get there,” Anatol said. “It’s about the habit that we create on a daily basis, and competing on a daily basis, getting better on a daily basis.”

    In their first game of the season, the Seawolves played to a 0-0 draw with Lehigh on Aug. 27.

    Their next match is Friday, Sept. 2 against Pittsburgh in the Duquesne Invitational tournament, followed by a game against the hosts on Sept. 4.

    The team’s home opener comes on Thursday, Sept. 15 against Sacred Heart. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *