A pair of Buckeye Valley freshmen, Jack Rotondo and Felipe Scharff, have some pretty big shoes to fill this soccer season … their own.
As the younger brothers of former Baron standouts, the two enter the 2017 campaign under uniquely similar circumstances. Jack’s brother Mitch and Felipe’s brother Sam were standouts for the Barons from 2012-15. Mitch and Sam were both four-year starters, both nabbed first-team all-conference honors four times and both are members of the 100 Club for points in a high school career.
For Jack and Felipe, though, none of that matters … at least not to BV coach Eric Staley.
“My expectation is that Felipe and Jack will bring their own shoes, as it were, instead of trying to fill someone else’s,” he said. “They are individuals; they bring their own characteristics. I told them both that I will never compare them to their brothers.
“But, I also told them that it goes both ways. There are no free passes; no guarantees of starting positions or playing time just because Sam and Mitch were four-year starters.”
Still, the two should see plenty of time this season.
“Based upon what I’ve seen, so far, I will likely call upon both of them to contribute quite a bit this season,” Staley said. “We are a much younger team this year than we have been for the past two years.”
BV’s past and present players, including the Rotondo and Scharff brothers, were on the field at the same time at Saturday’s annual BV Alumni Soccer Match.
“I’ve never actually played against my brother in a real game” Mitch Rotondo said before Saturday’s showdown. “We’re five years apart, so it never happened.”
Jack will wear the No. 8 this season … the same number his brother wore a few years ago.
“I was shocked the number 8 was available” Jack said. “How it works is the seniors pick first, and the freshmen last. Plus, with my last name starting with R, I was almost last to pick among the freshmen. It was karma, I guess. Coach Staley told me some of the best players at BV wore the number 8, so that’s really exciting.”
Buckeye Valley’s season opener is Aug. 18 at Heath.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.