The Hoosac Valley boys' soccer team is turning the page and starting fresh, again.
For the fourth time in four seasons, the Hurricanes will have a new coach patrolling the sidelines. Camilo Bermudez wasted no time making sure his players know this is a new season.
"I can just tell with the whole demeanor of how this program is going to be. It's going to be completely different than the past," senior Tom Galisa said. "I can tell by the first tryout, the 45-minute run and the sprints. We never did that. Just seeing that stuff, and seeing his whole attitude, I can tell it's going to be a whole new season and a whole new year."
Bermudez, the former St. Joseph's coach and MCLA standout, isn't worried about being the fourth coach this group of seniors has had, he's already past that.
"That never really crossed my mind," he said. "I told them ‘I don't want to hear one word about before today. I don't want to hear about last season. I don't want to hear about the season before that. I don't want to hear about the summer. I want to hear about today, what's going to happen tomorrow and this season.' "
After just one day, his players are already buying into that philosophy.
"Coach Bermudez is top notch," senior Matt Bresett said. "I really can't say anything bad about him, we've talked a few times about the team. After the first tryout, it looks like we're going to have a good season. He's getting us ready."
Bermudez isn't the only new North County coach this season. Matthew Barlin is taking the reigns of the McCann Tech golf team and Luke Polidoro is taking over Mount Greylock's golf program.
Barlin is new to coaching and is looking for his experienced team members to help ease the transition, but that won't change his focus for the first few weeks.
"We're going to work backwards," Barlin said. "I'm certainly going to emphasize putting, then chipping, then driving. We'll try to keep the guys from worrying about long drive contests. That's the key to keeping your scores nice and low."
While it might be the first go-around in coaching for Barlin, it's something that has been in the works for a long time. The McCann Tech teacher almost took the job before the latest coach, Justin Kratz, who stepped down after recently accepting a position as the school's principal.
"When it was open a few years ago, I came close in talking with coach Kratz about it," Barlin said. "[Coaching] has always been in the back of my mind. When coach Kratz gave it up, it was time for me to take over."
Unlike Barlin, Greylock's Polidoro kind of fell into the position. Just days after accepting a math teaching position, he received a phone call about the vacant golf coach position. He took it.
This marks his sixth season coaching. He spent the last five heading up the Pittsfield team.
"It's good," he said of the change. "I have some good kids. We're really young at Greylock this year. ... They're really looking to learn golf, which is great."
But in his first hours with the team, he established a baseline for each golfer. The Mounties hit Waubeeka Golf Links Thursday morning for a quick 9-hole round, which Polidoro was using to see exactly where his youthful squad stands. Then they worked on their short game before calling it a day.
But the most important part of the first tryout didn't occur during any of that. While some athletes were waiting for their rides, he waited with them. They talked casually on the putting green, which doesn't seem too beneficial on face value, but a new coach needs to establish good relationships with his players, one that allows them to trust what he is preaching.
"I don't have any magic," he said. "It's just like teaching them as a teacher. You build relationships with them. ... Also being a teacher in the school helps a lot. I'll be able to see them every day. They can come in and check in with me. That has a lot to do with it."
With two weeks left before the first games and matches get under way, most coaches are trying to take it slow and keep things heading in a positive direction.
"My big thing is just trying to keep organized. I want everybody on board," Bermudez said. "I want to keep it positive and I want to maintain a level of stability."
To reach Sam Monroe, email firstname.lastname@example.org.