Home Cinnaminson News The new captain of Pirates’ ship isn’t on unfamiliar territory at Cinnaminson

The new captain of Pirates’ ship isn’t on unfamiliar territory at Cinnaminson

After seven successful seasons at the girls soccer head coach, Matt Digney is taking over the boys’ program in 2018

Matt Digney, a Delran graduate, is in his first season as the boys soccer coach at Cinnaminson. He coached the girls soccer team at the school for the last seven years and previously coached on the men’s side at Philadelphia University and as an assistant at Rowan University. (RYAN LAWRENCE The Sun)

Matt Digney took a second before he answered and laughed a little, because he didn’t want to make too much of an early morning scrimmage on the Friday of a holiday weekend, a week before the games actually matter.

After four days of unforgiving heat, a steady mist hung over the Pirates home field and the dreariness felt right after the exhibition ended in a tie, despite the home team’s two-goal lead earlier in the game.

Cinnaminson, however, isn’t expecting to win a state championship this year. Sure, like any program at any school, they’d like to and probably should think like that.

For Digney and his Pirates, the fall of 2018 is a bit of a transition season. This isn’t to say they won’t compete or that they cannot make a run at the division (they’ll be attempting to do both).

Digney and Cinnaminson are evolving with each passing scrimmage, practice and game, as most programs are wont to do in the first year of a coach’s tenure.

“At times I think we look really good, I really do,” Digney said. “We’re trying to do some different things and maybe some things that guys aren’t used to, so there are some times we struggle with it. Like today I told them, out of the 80-minute game, I thought we played a solid 30, 40 minutes of really, really good soccer. And then the other times we struggled to get it together. But’s it a young group, a new group, a new coach. This is my first year, so we’re all trying to learn from each other.”

Cinnaminson boys soccer team will be tested early and often in the first month of the season against traditional league foes like Delran, Palmyra, and Bordentown. (RYAN LAWRENCE The Sun)

The benefit for both Digney and the upstart Pirates is that the first-year coach isn’t exactly in foreign territory in the red and black or even on the pitch off Riverton Road. Digney spent the previous seven seasons as the head girls soccer coach at Cinnaminson.

As the girls coach, Digney had plenty of success, including the team’s second South Jersey title in seven years last fall, when they lost to eventual state champion Wall, 1–0.

So, why the change?

“I thought the change would be good for everyone,” said Digney, a Delran grad who previously coached men’s teams at Philadelphia University and as an assistant at Rowan University, his alma mater.

“I coached guys for the first 15 years of my coaching career so it was just an opportunity to give myself a new challenge,” Digney continued. “I don’t think the boys are better than the girls or that girls are better than the boys. Sometimes change is good. I had a really good seven years there and I look forward to whatever time that I have here. And the girls are in good hands, too.”

Digney knows he’s in pretty good hands, too, because he’s more than a little familiar with his “new” school. When asked about the single strength of his team, he pointed to the personality of his players.

“I think we have a good crew of hard-working players,” Digney said. “And I’m comfortable knowing I can coach them. Cinnaminson is a good soccer town, there’s a good youth program here. So I know I’m getting kids that are pretty well coached; it’s just my job to put the finishing pieces on there.

“Our kids are great. I live in town. I teach in town. I coach in town. There’s no other place I’d rather be. The kids are great, that’s what’s going to make us successful or not, it’s not any type of coaching, that’s for sure.”

Cinnaminson boys soccer is hoping to improve upon last year’s 9–8–3 record. (RYAN LAWRENCE The Sun)

The Pirates will be led in 2018 by senior captain Dom Capolla and junior captains Alek Czajka and C.J. Gee. They have two more key contributing seniors in Nick Spence and goalkeeper Colin Peters and also have two talented sophomores in Owen Ogden and George Katsiotis, the latter a newcomer to the school this fall.

It’s the start of something Digney believes he can mold into a consistent winner, like his Pirates’ girls teams.

“That’s the goal. I mean, we set small goals that eventually lead to bigger goals,” he said. “I wouldn’t be as bold to say that’s what we’re trying to do this year, but it’s always something that we consider, something we talk about. Our first goal is in our division, we want to compete and compete for first in the division. And once playoffs get a little closer, we’ll start talking about other things.”

And odds are Digney will stick around the boys team long enough to see through with the rebuild.

“I need constant change,” Digney said with a laugh when he ran down his four coaching stops since beginning his coaching career some 20 years ago. “I’m the type of guy that I’ll change my office four times a year because I just need to keep it fresh.”

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