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Jul, 2019

Presidents Cup One-on-One with Luca Merotto

Following their recent championship win in the USYS Eastern Presidents Cup, U18 DC Stoddert Blue Metros is headed to Murfreesboro, Tenn. as one of the final four teams in the USYS National Presidents Cup. The U18 DC Stoddert Blue Metros team is the first DC Stoddert team to advance to the National President Cup. Leading up to the National Presidents Cup in mid-July, we will be releasing an interview series highlighting players and coaches from the Blue Metros team. Today we would like to introduce left-back Luca Merotto who has been with DC Stoddert for 12 years.


What was the excitement level like for the team heading into the Eastern Presidents Cup seeing as it was a tournament that you hadn’t ever played in?


I think we definitely beat our expectations. We were excited to play, but going in… I’m an 01 player, but the team is 02 and we were playing in an 01 tournament. I'm not sure how high the expectations were for the 02 guys, but there was a lot of excitement. 


How did the team feel about their chances heading into the Eastern Presidents Cup?


Well, there were four 01 players on the team, myself included. I think we had pretty high expectations because we are 01 players. Our teammates, the 02 guys, they might have been a little more nervous. But, I think after the first game, we realized that we had a really good chance in the tournament. 


How long had you and the other 01 players been playing with the 02 players?


That was actually my first tournament playing with the 02 guys. The age groups got switched around a long time ago so there were three guys on that team who I played with before for travel. But for most guys that was my first group of games playing with them.


What was the attitude/mentality/game plan going into the Eastern Presidents Cup final against a team that had beaten you in the group stages?


So, the first time we played PWSI, there was a lot of talking between the two teams. That didn’t really go down very well with us. We kind of let it get in our heads a little bit. So in the second game, we made sure to really focus on nothing but soccer and trying to get the ball in the back of the net. That really showed in our play. We were a lot more focused from the start. We came out and were destroying them from the start and got two goals in and that was pretty much the game from there.


Can you talk about what Coach Matt Thompson has meant for the team in terms of development and team chemistry?


Matt’s been a great coach. He’s been really good especially in the college age group. He’s really helped us a lot with looking at colleges. He’s also got a good sense of humor. He’ll be cracking jokes and that helps bring players in who aren’t as talkative. So it helps us come together.


Have you noticed an uptick in energy or buzz at practice now that the team is playing for a national trophy?


Yeah, I think a lot of guys are a lot more excited in practices. I think it (the Eastern Presidents Cup) definitely gave a confidence boost to a lot of the 02 guys and a lot of the 01 guys as well. Matt is definitely really focused. He really wants this… almost as badly as we do. So he’s making sure that we’re super focused in practice because there are a couple of things that we have to work on that weren’t too great in the Eastern Presidents Cup. If we can just get those out of the way, that would be awesome.


Are there any lessons that you learned at the Eastern Presidents Cup that you’re going to take to the National Presidents Cup?


I think we definitely have to play to the final whistle. We were kind of tearing teams apart in the first half, especially the first 20 minutes, we would just destroy other teams. That’s what happened against PWSI in the finals. Then in every game in the second half, we would kind of step of the gas and the other team would grab a goal. I think every single game it was just one goal. We really have to work just closing out games and not letting our opponents get that goal in the second half and make it a closer game.


Have you ever been to Nashville or Murfreesboro before?


I have not.


Is there anything specific you're looking forward to or are there any perceptions you have of what Nashville is going to be like?


Off the back of going to Charleston, WV. Charleston was not the nicest place so we spent a lot of time in the hotel there. So I’m kind of hoping to get out of the hotel and spend some time with the guys on the team.


Do you think the trip to Tennessee is going to be fun or strictly business?


I’d like to think it will be a bit of both. I mean, of course, I think the soccer has to come first because it’s such a big tournament. We can always go back to Nashville.


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DC Stoddert Soccer
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Washington, District of Columbia 20016

Phone: 202-338-1910
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