When Teammates Become Family


Photo care of Jin Heung Yoo

The entire 2019 CHS Boys' Soccer team

Family. This one word is uttered in unison at the end of every huddle. Regardless of a win or a loss, “Family” commenced and concluded every match that the Cresskill Varsity Boys’ Soccer Team (18-5) played this season. Every slide tackle, every touch, and every through ball was committed to the purpose of playing soccer for one another.

“Family is the foundation and strength of everything,” says Varsity Head Coach Tim Serbe.

All the cards for a winning season had been set out before the Boys’ Soccer Squad. Coming off of a successful 2018-19 campaign with a 14-7 record while bringing back the majority of the starting lineup, another strong season was in the making. When Coach Serbe took the helm as the first-year coach of Cresskill’s soccer program, his task was to build disciplined team players that could be melded into one cohesive unit.

Photo care of CHS Soccer Instagram
The seniors of CHS Soccer. From left: Erik Imami, Jin Heung Yoo, Gianpaolo Colannino, Conor Tobin and Santiago Ramirez.

“There were high expectations for the team, even prior to me coming onboard as the coach. The team started with proven players,” says Coach Serbe. “I began with a great goalkeeper, defenders, and goal scorers. My responsibility was to bring the players together and have them play as a team and for each other.”

On a mission to play selfless soccer, the Cresskill boys maintained a possession-based game, but they were quick to push the ball whenever the opportunity arose. With this chemistry holding the team together, Cresskill reached heights that no previous Cresskill team had ever reached before. Some crucial season highlights include:

  • A 2-1 win over Fort Lee in the first round of the Bergen County Tournament, led by senior captain Jin Yoo’s double overtime goal
  • Becoming NJIC Patriot Division Co-Champions and the first Cresskill team to achieve this milestone in 32 years (clinched in a tight 1-0 win over Hawthorne Christian)
  • An NJSIAA North 1 Group 1 State Sectional Championship Berth (1-0 game over Boonton in the semi-finals)

Although these three high points of the season are indicators of Cresskill’s development throughout the season, every game was equally important to the process. Taking losses in stride and treating obstacles as learning experiences took the forefront of Coach Serbe’s coaching philosophy this season.

“I constantly evaluate and reevaluate situations, not to overcome them, but to learn from them and be prepared for them when they happen again,” comments Coach Serbe.

Furthermore, 8 of the starting 11 players were recognized with all-league team mentions. These players are as follows:

  • Robert Boiardi, Jr., Forward, 1st Team All-League
  • Conor Tobin, Sr., Midfielder, 1st Team All-League
  • Brandon Tilp, Jr., Defender, 1st Team All-League
  • Jin Yoo, Sr., Forward, 2nd Team All-League
  • Jason On, Jr., Midfielder, 2nd Team All-League
  • Gianpaolo Colanino, Sr., Goalkeeper, 2nd Team All-League
  • James Lee, Jr., Defender, 2nd Team All-League
  • Dan Binderman, Jr., Midfielder, Honorable Mention All-League
  • Additionally, Gianpaolo Colanino verbally committed to playing soccer at Vassar College last Friday.

The deep bond between each and every one of the players on this team was the driving force behind this season full of accomplishments. More than any other milestone, this team’s chemistry, teamwork, and accountability has set the bar high for future Cresskill soccer teams.