25 CIAC boys soccer players to watch during the 2022 season

Photo of Scott Ericson

Lucas Almeida, Hall, Sr. F: After scoring 38 goals with 10 assists and being the only junior named to the GameTimeCT All-State First Team as well as earning the 2021 CSCA Connecticut Player of The Year, All-CCC, CHSCA All-State, All-New England and All-American honors, the striker is back for one last season before heading off to play at UConn.

Johnny Ardon, Stamford, Sr. F: Ardon impressed as a junior enough to make the All-FCIAC First Team, playing outside on the attack

Tyler Borry, Bristol Eastern, Sr. M/D: An all-purpose player who can defend and score, Borry had 3 goals and 3 assists playing as a defensive midfielder.

Marshall Butler, Middletown, Sr. F: The CHSCA All-State and All-CCC pick scored 20 goals last season, no easy task in the CCC.

Walker Butts, Shepaug Valley, Sr. M: The midfielder was named CHSCA All-State and All-Berkshire and returns as one of the best players in the northwest corner.

Anthony Catanzaro, Conard, Sr. F: The UMass-bound forward was CHSCA All-State and All-CCC last season and could tally over 20 goals this season as one of the state’s best strikers.

Aidan Cooke, Farmington, Sr. D: Cooke led the team in minutes and is drawing interest from top colleges as one of the state’s best defensive players.

Ben Douglas, Staples , Sr. D: The centerback is a three-year varsity player but just moving into the center of the defense this year where he will be one of the best around at winning balls in the air.

Brendan Duhamel, Montville, Sr. D: Out in the ECC, Duhamel has established himself as a very strong defensive presence.

Tyler Ferreira, Newington, Sr. D/M: Ferreira has a chance to be the best defensive player in the state, possessing excellent soccer IQ.

Jack Gaffney, Hamden, Sr. M/D: The defensive midfielder was named All-SCC First Team and will be back patrolling the middle of the pitch for the Dragons.

Justin Hess, Guilford, Sr. GK: As a junior, was named to the CHSCA All-State, New Haven Register All-Area and All-SCC teams and is considered by many to be the state’s top returning keeper.

Santiago Idrobo, Abbott Tech, Sr. F: The senior scored 22 goals and added three assists while being named to the CTC First Team.

Sebastian Kadlof, Morgan, Sr. M: The center-midfielder was a CHSCA All-State and an All-Shoreline pick who can work on both the offense and defensive ends.

Jonah Lathrop, Lyme Old Lyme, Sr. GK: The All-Shoreline pick returns and should once again be one of the toughest keepers to get a ball past.

Brayden Milbrandt, Granby Memorial, Sr. GK: As a junior was named CHSCA All-State and All-NCCC and should keep Granby in every game this season.

Franco Milovanov, Trumbull, Sr. M: Playing center-midfield, the All-FCIAC West pick has strong playmaking ability and can control the game in the center of the pitch.

Ben Pavano, Glastonbury, Sr. M: The chatter out of the CCC is that Glastonbury is back after an up and down year and Pavano anchoring things in the middle and scoring in bunches in the preseason is a big reason why.

Trevor Pegg, Darien, Sr. M: Pegg was a GameTimeCT Honorable Mention All-State pick and an All-FCIAC selection with the ability to score himself or feed others.

Paramvir Rakwal, University High School of Science and Engineering, Sr. F/M: Rakwal was UHSSE’s top scorer in last season and is one of the best players in the CRAL.

Anthony Reyes, Immaculate, Sr. D: Reyes has been named CHSCA All-State twice and in a SWC with a lot of talent, might be the best on defense.

Nick Santana, Notre Dame-West Haven, Sr. F: The CHSCA All-State pick returns as one of the top offensive threats in the SCC.

Andreas Shaboo, Bethel Jr. F: As a sophomore, Shaboo let everyone in the SWC know how good he was, making the GameTimeCT All-State Second Team, and now he is ready to make his case to the state as a legitimate scoring threat from anywhere on the field.

Ryan Turner, Stonington, Sr. F: After scoring 6 goals with 5 assists last season, Turner will be called upon to fill the large shoes of GameTimeCT MVP Sam Montalto, who is now at Providence.

Jack Weinbrum, Weston, Sr. D: The centerback was All-SWC pick last year and as one of the few starters back, will be asked to do a lot for the Trojans this fall.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN THE 2022 SEASON

CCC WELCOMES THE FCIAC

Outside of the state playoffs, there is clearly one weekend in the boys soccer season fans will want to see.

The first CCC-FCIAC Challenge will take place Sept. 23-24 in Farmington at the FSA complex. The games will be played on the three fields, each with artificial turf and lights.

Sept. 23: Wethersfield vs New Canaan; McMahon vs South Windsor and Ridgefield vs Avon.

Sept. 24: Trumbull faces defending Class LL champion Farmington; Southington plays Danbury; Wilton takes on Newington; Greenwich plays Hall in a rematch of the 2019 Class LL final; Staples faces Glastonbury and Darien plays Conard.

Teams from either the CCC or the FCIAC have won the CIAC Class LL boys soccer championship 15 of the last 16 years it has been held, but the FCIAC has not won a state championship since 2013 when Ridgefield was co-champion with Glastonbury.

Six times in that span the championship game has pitted a CCC team against an FCIAC team.

ONE MORE TIME FOR OLD SAYBROOK?

Old Saybrook won its third-straight CIAC Class S title last fall, defeating Canton in overtime 4-1.

That win moved Old Saybrook into elite company and one more state championship would put them into rarefied air.

Hand won four straight state titles from 2016-2019, all in Class L.

Hand’s bid for five titles ended when it lost in the second round of the 2021 Class L tournament. There was no tournament in 2020.

The last team to win four straight before that was Granby in Class S from 1984-87, something Old Saybrook will try to equal this season.

CALLING THE SWC

Despite being a hotbed for soccer in the state, one team from the SWC has won a state title in the last decade.

Brookfield’s win in 2016 in Class M was the last time a school from the conference won and since then, only one team (Masuk in 2017) has reached a state championship game.

Since 2012, Barlow (2013 and 2016) is the only other SWC team to reach a final.

Oddly enough, from 2007-2011, the SWC had seven teams win state championships in multiple classes with both Pomperaug (LL) and Bunnell (L) each winning in 2011.