By Chris Place
Rich Catena has been the assistant coach of the men’s soccer team since 2016.
Catena said that he has been around the game of soccer for over 25 years.
“I played goalkeeper in high school at Colonia. I played goalkeeper for four years on varsity. Then, I played at Middlesex for two years,” he said.
Catena said that he moved up after playing at Middlesex.
“I played semi-pro. I was in the developmental league for Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL),” he said.
Catena said that he moved on from soccer for a while, but his love for the game brought him back.
“I was out of the game for a little bit – for about five years. I worked a regular job, and then my love for the game just kept coming back and back,” he said.
Catena said that was when he decided that he wanted to become a coach.
“I wanted to teach kids. I want to teach young adults and kids that have dreams like I did to go on and play,” he said.
Catena doesn’t want to just help teach kids how to play soccer. He wants to help them pursue anything they want to be.
“Not just soccer, though, but try to be a teacher, firefighter, police officer, or whoever you want to be. That’s really why I got into it,” he said.
“You have to have the confidence if you want to play for me. This isn’t rec soccer anymore. We play to win here. We also play to win here as student athletes. You win in the classroom, as also you win on the field. That’s what we promote here. That’s what we believe in,” said Catena.
Catena also wants it to be known that the program has changed from 30 years ago and wants it to continue to change every time the players step onto the field.
“People have to understand that this isn’t your same Middlesex County College from 30 years ago. We play in region 19. It’s a very hard schedule; we play against very good competition – nationally ranked. When we come here and play, it’s to change the program here. We want to put winning first,” he said.
As far as the future goes, Catena would like to become a head coach one day, but he’s not focused on that right now.
“Eventually, I would like to become a head coach, but right now I enjoy what I do. I enjoy teaching the goalkeepers. I enjoy understanding and listening to Coach Zizo, as far as his philosophy and his strategy,” said Catena.