Rossi Receives Coach of the Year

Coach Rossi talks to team during pregame (

Every year names a girls soccer Coach of The Year. There are hundreds of high school coaches across New Jersey, but West Morris Central’s very own Coach Rossi received this year’s award.

Coach Rossi has been a teacher at West Morris Central for twenty five years and the head coach of the girls soccer team for twenty years. In addition to soccer he also coached wrestling at WMC for fifteen years. His passion for sports came from his childhood. He noted, “In first grade I started playing soccer, wrestling and baseball. I just loved moving, I played with my brother every day in my backyard. And as I continued to get more successful in wrestling my passion for sports grew from there.” He adds, “My passion for coaching didn’t really develop until I was teaching here for about five years. I was seeking out ways to be competitive and then I realized there were so many opportunities within coaching.” Coach Rossi compares his coaching philosophy to a piece of jelly. He says, “If you put a piece of jelly in your hands, and squeeze your hand too hard, all the jelly is going to squeeze out. If you hold it too softly it’s going to slide off your hand, so you have to find the right hold of the jelly to make sure you can push your athletes to the level you need to go while not overdoing it.” This philosophy is what helped carry the West Morris Central girls soccer (WMCGS) team through their historic season.

Coach Rossi and Coach McCormack celebrate winning State Final (Jon Sellars)

Senior Kesley Commeford shared, “Rossi inspires me because I see him every morning running outside and it makes me want to play stronger and be as hardworking as him.” Libby Masterson added, “He motivates me as a player and person because he always looks at the positive side, if any of us are ever down he tells us to put it in our back pocket and keep trying to push through it.” Before every game Coach Rossi tells the team “First half is technical, second half is fitness, and overtime is heart.” These three things are what the team focused on throughout the season. Whether they were running tempo runs during preseason or sitting in their pregame huddle before the state final, Coach Rossi was a motivator and inspired the team to get 1% better every day. While he did make practices challenging and competitive, he also was able to make them lighthearted. Senior Captain Sofia Chan adds, “Rossi has a point system every season where the goal is to be the player with the most points by the end. One of the ways to earn points was through his trivia competitions which was always one of my favorite parts about practice.”

From left to right, Coach Konopka, Coach Rossi, and Coach McCormack celebrate State Championship win. (Jen Sheppard)

This season WMCGS team went 14-6-1 making Rossi’s all time coaching record 266-109-25. Going into this season Rossi expected the team to be highly competitive and under great senior leadership. He added, “I expected to work our butts off and be very successful in the county and section tournaments.” In addition to going 14-6-1, this season the WMCGS team advanced all the way to the Morris County Tournament final. They also won the North 2 Group 2 Sectional Title and for the first time outright in school history they won the North 2 Group Title. Rossi remarked, “I am really proud of that accomplishment as this is the first time I’ve won it, but more so for the athletes because I know how much work they put in daily.”

To prepare the team for the state final Coach Rossi said, “I tried to make sure we had a solid game plan, Coach Konopka helped greatly with that. Secondly, I made sure we were mentaly and emotionally in the right place. I tried not to get us as mentally fired up as we normally would because the moment itself helped take care of that. I wanted to make sure that everyone realized it was a lifetime event and they would remember forever.” Before every home game Coach Rossi always repeats the same pre game routine with the team. However, for the State Final he switched it up slightly. He had roughly thirty WMCGS alumni write letters to individuals on the team. About an hour before game time the team sat in a circle and read their letters personalized to them. One of the things Coach Rossi always tells his team is to “carry the torch.” He made sure that his team knew that not only were they playing for themselves but also for every past player and coach to ever come through the WMCGS program.

Following winning the Group 2 Title Rossi was awarded’s girls soccer Coach of The Year. “I was flattered, I think I am an excellent coach, but there are a lot of capable coaches in the state and any of the other group champion coaches could have easily won,” stated Rossi. Senior player Lily Dipietro added, “When I heard that Rossi won this award I was so happy for him because he really deserved it.”

The Paw wants to congratulate Coach Rossi on his outstanding achievement and on another successful season!