Roberth Perez of Amityville poses for a portrait prior to...

Roberth Perez of Amityville poses for a portrait prior to the NYSPHSAA Day of Champions on Sept. 10 in Jericho. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Newsday Player of the Year: ROBERTH PEREZ, Amityville, F, Sr.

After Perez’s mother lost a battle with cancer in June and the “band of brothers” that was the Amityville team helped him through his grief. He, in turn, gave them the finest boys soccer season played on Long Island.

With a catalog of gifts — size and strength, speed and skill, vision and leadership — Perez led Amityville to a 20-1 record and Suffolk, Long Island and state Class A championships. He scored 19 goals, assisted on 13 more and made immeasurable defensive contributions. In the postseason, Perez had five goals and six assists.

“Rob was everything you could want in a leader,” Amityville coach Mike Abbondondolo said. “He played great. He raised the level of play for everyone on the team, and his courage in the face of personal [tragedy] was exemplary.”

Perez was named as an All-American by the United Soccer Coaches, one of just 81 boys in the country to earn that honor.

“The greatest reward was that we could do this together,” Perez said after winning the state title with a 4-0 victory over Beacon in Middletown. “I am so grateful that my teammates put their faith in me this season.”

Nassau Player of the Year: LONDELL WHEELER, Glen Cove, M, Sr.

Glen Cove's Londell Wheeler shoots and scores during the Long...

Glen Cove's Londell Wheeler shoots and scores during the Long Island Class A boys soccer championship against Amityville at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Nov. 6. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Wheeler sat on the turf at Mitchel Athletic Complex, holding the Nassau Class A championship plaque and happily posing for the cameras with his Glen Cove teammates.

“It was my last year,” he said that night in early November. “I knew I wanted to bring it home.”

The attacking center midfielder and Division I recruit’s brilliant last year came with 16 goals, including one in the final against Garden City, and 11 assists. Newsday’s Nassau Player of the Year is also Nassau’s lone All-American on the United Soccer Coaches’ list. Wheeler scored 46 goals in three years.

“He plays with a lot of passion and heart,” coach Brian Smith said. “What separates him is his levelheadedness, his humbleness and his leadership. … Technically speaking, he really is superior.”

ERIC ARMIJOS, East Hampton, F, Sr.

Armijos showed off his skills with 16 goals  and 15 assists to lead a 12-3 team, giving him 37 goals and 24 assists over his three seasons as a starter. Coach Don McGovern believes that Armijos  is not only good at “finding the back of the net,” but also “is an extremely unselfish player who looks to create with his teammates.”

AIDAN FRIEL, Connetquot, D, Sr.

Friel’s speed to the ball and tenacity upon arrival made him the centerpiece of the Thunderbirds’ defense and the catalyst of a run to their first Suffolk and Long Island Class AA championships. After a 2-0 win over Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK for the Island crown, Connetquot coach Joe Zambriski said the United Soccer Coaches All-American “is totally indispensable — we don’t accomplish something like this without him.”

AIDAN LODIE, West Islip, M/F, Sr.

Newsday’s fall 2021 Player of the Year had another strong season, finishing with eight goals and seven assists despite being man-marked more and playing tougher competition. Coach Dennis Mazzalonga praised Lodie  for his knowledge, field vision, ball skills and speed, and called him “an ultimate team player.”

Top row, from left: Eric Armijos of East Hampton, Aidan Friel...

Top row, from left: Eric Armijos of East Hampton, Aidan Friel of Connetquot, Aidan Lodie of West Islip. Middle row, from left: Andrew Marotta of Chaminade, Tommy Poz of Garden City, Anthony Randazzo of Glenn. Bottom row, from left: Hugo Rodriguez of Amityville, Garrett Smith of Chaminade, Zach Tanner of St. Anthony’s.

ANDREW MAROTTA, Chaminade, G, Jr.

Marotta’s development and considerable shot-stopping ability helped the Flyers (14-4-2) post nine shutouts and allow only one goal in three others. “There’s easily five games where he made stops that made the difference between winning and losing,” coach Michael Gallagher said.

TOMMY POZ, Garden City, F, Jr.

Poz produced for the 15-1 Nassau Class A finalist, delivering 18 goals and nine assists, including five goals and four assists in the postseason. Coach Paul Cutter said he’s “just so dangerous one-on-one” and “a pretty natural finisher.”


Randazzo  had outstanding production — 28 goals and seven assists after delivering 15 goals as a junior while playing with a torn ACL. “Coming off a major knee surgery [in January], we were very uncertain of how he would respond,” coach Lou Hanner said, “and obviously he had a very impressive season.”

HUGO RODRIGUEZ, Amityville, F, Sr.

Versatile and skilled, Rodriguez did a little bit of everything – creating for others, finishing runs to a goal or dropping back to help protect a lead – on Amityville’s run to the state Class A championship. He had 15 goals and 10 assists and was exceptional when it mattered most with six goals and an assist in the postseason.

GARRETT SMITH, Chaminade D, Sr.

Smith was the defensive weapon Chaminade deployed against opponents’ top playmakers. His precise passing skills could have made for a great midfielder, but his one-on-one defensive game was needed to win. “His grit and hard work were catalysts for us,” Gallagher said. “His drive led us to success. I wish I had 11 Garrett Smiths.”

ZACH TANNER, St. Anthony’s, M, Sr.

Big moments summoned Tanner and he always answered. His keen knack for getting to the right spot at the right time and his accurate foot produced 16 goals and seven assists as the Friars (17-1-2) captured the NSCHSAA championship. Facing archrival Chaminade, he was at his best. In their first meeting, he scored both goals in a 2-2 tie In the Catholic final, his goal was the difference in a 1-0 triumph. “He came through in big moments against the meat of our rigorous schedule," Friars coach Don Corrao said. "His extra gear and ability to finish made it very difficult for our opponents to defend him.”

Nassau Coach of the Year: BRIAN SMITH, Glen Cove

Smith guided the Big Red to a 12-4-3 record and a second county championship in his 10 seasons as coach — the first title since 2016. His team was seeded 11th in the Class A tournament, but it beat No. 2 MacArthur, 1-0, in overtime in the semifinals and No. 1 Garden City, 2-0, in the title round.

Suffolk Coach of the Year: MIKE ABBONDONDOLO, Amityville

Many on Amityville’s roster could have been its leading scorer but instead chose to sacrifice individual glory for team achievement. That philosophy, instilled by Abbondondolo, became the foundation for a Class A state championship team. Abbondondolo had answers for every opposing strategy, well-crafted rotations and an approach to players that brought out their best.


Jose Betancourt, Brentwood, D, Sr.

Asher Block, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, F, Sr.

Jake Christel, Oceanside, D, Sr.

Sebastian Cuenca, Lynbrook, F/M, Sr.

Zach Fawaz, Commack, D, Sr.

Matt Ferrero, Smithtown West, M, Sr.

Nico Giammarino, Babylon, M, Sr.

Gavin Goodlad, South Side, F, Sr.

Anthony Gulino, Plainedge, M, So.

Ryan Harding, Comsewogue, M/F, Sr.

Jack Henick, Cold Spring Harbor, F, Sr.

Andrew Johnson, Connetquot, M, Sr.

Konstantinos Karousis, Mepham, M, Sr.

Matthew Katz, Amityville, G, Sr.

Ryan McNicholas, South Side, M/F, Sr.

Aidan Oviedo-Torres, St. John the Baptist, M, Sr.

John Oualaalou, St. Anthony’s, M, Jr.

Rob Patrissi, Garden City, D, Sr.

Christian Pica, Garden City, M, Sr.

Tommy Venezia, Carle Place, M, Sr.

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