By Steve Svetovich
It is the year of the freshmen for the Dunmore High School soccer program.
And Eric Arduino is one of 13 freshmen on the Dunmore soccer team.
Son of Joanne and Paul Arduino, Dunmore, Eric is one of four freshmen starters on the team.
The 13 freshmen make up almost half of Dunmore’s soccer team. There are 27 players on the varsity team.
“Soccer has been a popular sport since I got into it at five,” said Eric. “Now all these kids who played youth soccer are coming up and playing for the high school team. It’s getting even more popular. There are 500 kids playing in the Dunmore-Green Ridge (DGR) youth soccer program.
“Soccer is growing in Dunmore. We play in the fall league at Sherwood Park and in an indoor league at the Riverfront from the beginning of November until April.”
Eric said his dad was one of his youth coaches. “I learned the most about soccer from my dad. He taught me to always try my best and never give up.”
The Dunmore freshman also learned a lot from his mom, the owner-operator of Joanne Arduino Ballet and Dance Studio. “My mom always tells me to be positive and have a good attitude.”
His Dunmore soccer coach is Chris Phillips. “Our coach tells us to work together as a team. If we do that, we can achieve our goals.” Three other coaches who have influenced the young player are Brian Fetsko, Dan Badyrka and James Riggall.
Eric said his favorite soccer player is Neymar who plays for Paris Saint Germain. His favorite team is Chelsea of the English Premier Soccer League.
He talked about his future goals. “I want to help Dunmore go far in the playoffs every year. Then I would like to play soccer in college. I’m not sure what I want to be yet.”
Eric said he thinks soccer will continue to grow. “It was popular as I grew up, but now I think it’s hitting another generation. And it’s on TV a lot more now. That generates even more interest.”
Eric is a defensive midfielder on the Dunmore soccer team. “You have to be well conditioned,” he said. “I do a lot of running up and down the field. I am constantly running.”
Eric, 14, has been playing soccer for 10 years. He was recently certified as a referee. He is now a referee in the DGR League. His mom is very proud of that achievement.
A member of the Spanish Club at Dunmore, he talked about what it takes to be a good midfielder. “You have to harass the other team. You need to get in their face and steal the ball. You need to help out as much as you can.”
And Eric helped Dunmore win four of its first six soccer matches, making two goals as of press time. The freshman says he really looks up to the older players on the team who set a good example for the younger team members.
The future is bright in Dunmore with kids like Eric Arduino around.
“I love the game,” he said. “It’s a great sport. “
The roster for the Dunmore Bucks soccer team coached by Chris Phillips includes: Senior returning starters Gerardo Sanchez, Will Meade and Mark Rinaldi; juniors Noah Barton, Wyatt Bravo and Charloe DeNapoli; and sophomore Paris Alunni.
Others returning are seniors Joe Ferguson, Billy McDonough, Matt Valunas, junior Keenan Brazil, and sophomores Dylan Martin and Matt Sirotnak.
Newcombers include sophomore Shane Murphy and Tobyn Sitar, and freshmen Eric Arduino, Peyton Badyrka, David Day, Brian Fabricatore, Conor Holt, Telynn Jefferson, Gavin McHale, Killian Palmiter, Billy Portanova, Jonathan Riggall, Hunter Sherman, Aidan Sload and Calvin Zhang.