Boys Soccer

Matusek built soccer program, many memories for Nanticoke Area players, community
Dave Rosengrant - Times Leader

Nanticoke Area soccer coach Mark Matusek, who announced that he is stepping down after coaching the Trojans for 29 years, can reflect on a career of building a successful program and many memories.
It was more than 30 years ago when Mark Matusek first took a job coaching in youth soccer.
A young man in his early twenties gave it a shot despite not knowing anything about the sport.
“I originally turned it down because the only thing I knew about soccer was Pele,” Matusek said. “I was most interested in basketball and always wanted to coach. I thought it would eventually help me get a teaching job, so I did it.”
And the rest was history.
Two years later, Matusek was recommended by the youth soccer club he coached to start up Nanticoke Area’s program. A 1982 graduate from the high school, he accepted the position and stayed there for 29 years, along with getting a teaching job.
Last week, Matusek, 54, who is a math teacher at the school district’s Educational Complex, made it official that he would not be returning for his 30th season; it also marks the end for the longest-tenured boys soccer coach in Wyoming Valley Conference history.
But, he said, don’t say never.
“I decided to step down and retire for now,” he said. “Maybe down the road. I’m not saying I’ll never coach again. I’ll never say done forever. I always leave the door open.
“I don’t like to use the word retire. I still think about the kids that are coming back this year. It’s not like I’m burnt out. I’m not. It’s just that I thought that maybe someone newer or younger can come in and can infuse a different energy.”
Matusek, who will remain a teacher at the school, racked up 262 career wins, 28 ties and 232 losses in more than 500 games coached. What’s impressive about that number is that in the early part of his career, overtime periods were not sudden-victory as the whole period had to be concluded, which led to some losses that could have been wins.
His coaching career began with the same flow as the rest of his career would continue.
In 1989, the Trojans finished 0-15 and only had four players sign up that had previous experience.
By the time, that group were seniors, the team finished unbeaten in league play before falling to Bishop O’Reilly, 4-2 in the league championship. The team also ended up going to the District 2 title match before falling to Wyoming Valley West, 3-1.
“Those guys didn’t have the skill level, but just had the desire to win and they were tired of losing,” Matusek recalled. “From there, we had a long stretch of winning.”
That was the same process Matusek’s teams seemed to follow throughout his career.
In 2005, the Trojans finished winless in 17 matches. Just three years later, Matusek led Nanticoke to a 14-win campaign.
Perhaps his best coaching job came in 2016 when the team finished with just seven wins in the regular season, but managed to win two matches as the No. 9 seed in the District 2 Class 2A Tournament, including ousting top-seeded Blue Ridge to reach the semifinals before losing a one-goal game to Wyoming Seminary.
“He had years where he had light numbers or young kids but he was always very well prepared, and even in those years, he wasn’t getting blown out,” said Meyers coach Jack Nolan, who has
been one of Matusek’s coaching rivals over the years. “Every time we played them it was always close games.
He always gave everyone fits and keeps the kids prepared and does a great job with that.”
Those years were an example of great coaching, but to Matusek, his most memorable season was in 2003.
That’s when the Trojans reached the District 2 Class 2A title game and lost 1-0 to Scranton Prep after beating unbeaten top-seeded Dallas in the semifinals. The team also qualified for the PIAA Championship tournament that season.
In the team’s state appearance that year, Matusek was handcuffed playing with just one sub against Eastern Lebanon. The Trojans were winning in the second half before eventually running out of gas and losing by one goal to the eventual state champion.
“That was the only loss I ever felt good about,” Matusek noted. “I read in the (Harrisburg) Patriot News after they won the state title that their coach said that we were the best team they played that year and it made me feel good about that loss.
In his career, he’s made hundreds of players feel good about losses and make them more confident and prepared for life’s toughest tests. He coached two all-state players in Ed Lukowski III in 2015 and Luke Malishchak in 1999.
“I’ve had a lot of good kids over the years, a lot of good memories and it’s tough to step away. It’s not easy,” he said.
But he sure made plenty of wonderful memories along the way.

Boys soccer: Matusek stepping down as Nanticoke Area coach

Eric Shultz – Citizens Voice

Back in the late 1980s, Mark Matusek hardly knew a thing about soccer.
He knew who all-time great Pelé was, but had never played or coached the game. By 1989, he had only a few years of youth coaching experience to point to as his soccer background.
That’s not quite the resume of an average high school coach nowadays, but Matusek remembers Wyoming Valley soccer still in its early stages back then. In 1989, it was enough to make Matusek the man to start Nanticoke Area’s boys soccer program from scratch — a position he’s finally ready to give up.
After 29 seasons, Matusek is stepping down as the Trojans only boys soccer head coach to date.
“I’ve been thinking about it on and off for the past two seasons. I just think that 29 years — long time,” Matusek said Thursday night. “And I was thinking, maybe it’s time to give someone else an opportunity to run the program.”
Matusek called the move “the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” He had his resignation letter typed up and saved, but it took some time to finally hit the “send” button and deliver it to athletic director Ken Bartuska.
Nearly three decades of coaching Trojans soccer would have never happened, though, had it not been for a family friend.
Bartuska recalls his sister’s neighbor suggesting he head to a weekend clinic to learn how to coach soccer. Nanticoke was starting a youth program and needed people to help run the team.
“I didn’t know anything about it, so how can I coach?” he figured.
Matusek gave it a shot, though, and a weekend at a Crestwood coaches clinic turned into three years of youth experience, which turned into a job recommendation from parents for the brand-new Trojans job. Then-AD Jim Davis gave him a call, and Matusek, a substitute teacher at the time, figured it wouldn’t hurt to start the program.
It was rough at first.
Matusek’s first team included roughly 24 players, but just four freshmen with prior playing experience. Its first game, a trip to Crestwood, resulted in a 19-0 loss.
The Trojans finally won their first game in 1990 at Wyoming Area, the first of a three-win, two-tie season.
“The bus driver drove around town blowing the horn (for the first win), and people didn’t know what was going on,” Matusek said.
By the time his four experienced freshmen in ’89 became seniors, “they honestly got sick of losing,” Matusek said, and the Trojans went undefeated in league play and made it to the 1992 league title game.
That kicked off a nice run of winning seasons throughout the decade.
But perhaps Matusek’s biggest career highlight came in 2003.
Nanticoke Area qualified for its first District 2 title game after beating then-undefeated Dallas, 5-1, he said, and it qualified for states despite losing in the title game. The Trojans opened their first state tournament against defending state runner-up Eastern Lebanon Catholic and held a second-half lead before falling, 3-2, to the eventual PIAA champs.
“That was the only time as a coach that I’ve lost a game and felt really good about it,” Matusek said.
Nanticoke Area’s last season under Martusek ended in the D2 Class 2A quarterfinals. Wherever the next coach takes the Trojans in future seasons, Martusek hopes he or she can boost participation numbers. “It’s been very difficult the past few years getting kids out,” Martusek said. “I’m hoping whoever comes in can get into the youth program and help with the youth program.”

Long-time Nanticoke boys soccer coach Matusek won’t return for 30th season

Dave Rosengrant – Times Leader

For nearly three decades, Nanticoke boys soccer hasn’t had a head coach besides Mark Matusek. That will come to an end for the upcoming season as Matusek, the longest-tenured coach in the Wyoming Valley Conference, informed Nanticoke Area athletic director Ken Bartuska that he would not be returning for his 30th season as head coach of the Trojans. Matusek, who couldn’t be immediately reached for comment on Thursday, piled up more than 250 wins since the program’s inception in 1989.
Matusek racked up several division titles in his 29 seasons, with Meyers being runner-up to the Trojans on a few occasions, and the Mohawks getting the best of Matusek a few times as well.
“Any time you have a coach with that kind of tenure, you have a great coach,” said Meyers coach Jack Nolan, now the longest-tenured coach in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference. “Any time you have a coach that’s been around a long time, he gets the best out of his kids.
“I was actually a little upset because they are going up to Triple-A this year and up to Division 1, and we wouldn’t get to play them. … Him leaving is going to be a big loss for the league and the program and the sport.”
Even when the Trojans didn’t have a division-winning team on the field, Matusek’s teams were always tough to beat.
Just a few years ago in 2016, the team finished with just seven wins in the regular season but managed to win two matches as the No. 9 seed in the District 2 Class 2A Tournament. That included ousting top-seeded Blue Ridge to reach the semifinals before losing a one-goal game to Wyoming Seminary.
“We all have those couple years when we’re rebuilding and you know it’s going to be a struggle, but Mark was always competitive,” Nolan said. “And you always had to have your team prepared because you knew it was going to be a tough game.
“That’s a testament to Mark and his knowledge of the sport and how much he gets out of the kids. He’s put a lot of time and effort into it and deserves all the accolades he’s received, and the time off in his retirement.”

Boys Soccer Preview
Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area Classification: 2A
Coach: Mark Matusek
How the 2016 season ended: 7-9, 5th in WVC; Lost to Wyoming Seminary in District 2 semifinals, 3-2.

2017 rundown: The Trojans finished the season as a middle-of-the-pack team last year but saved the best for the postseason, when they took down top seed Blue Ridge in a 4-3 overtime victory in the quarterfinals and came within a goal of Wyoming Seminary in the semifinals. Like others in the division, this year’s group is young — it replaces seven starters — and low on numbers, but it’ll look for improvement as the weeks go by.

Two-year midfield starter Nate Kreitzer (four goals) and forward Adam Eckhart (six goals as a freshman) will lead the attack, with defenseman Justin Ostopick and keeper Trahjan Krupinski manning the other end of the field.