Pioneers Ready for New Season

Open on the road at Seacoast


The Western Mass Pioneers are ready to kick off the 2016 Premier Development League (PDL) season.  This is the 19th year the Pioneers will compete in the United Soccer Leagues (USL).

The Pioneers’ first game is Saturday May 7 at longtime rivals the Seacoast Phantoms.  Western Mass stays on the road to Long Island Rough Riders on May 14, before returning to Lusitano Stadium for their home opener on May 22.

The pressure is on Western Mass to improve from their 2015 record of 1-2-11.  Head Coach Federico Molinari rejoins the team, having left in 2015 to coach the WM Pro Soccer team, which reached the finals and lost in penalty kicks.  Molinari was the Western Mass Pioneers head coach in 2012-2014, and played six seasons for the Pioneers (2003, 2006-2010).

“I’m very excited to rejoin the Pioneers” stated Molinari. “We have to perform our best and to get results on the field.  Our goal is to make the playoffs and to qualify for the 2017 US Open Cup.”

Dennis Gomes is returning as Molinari’s top assistant coach.  Gomes was Pioneers head coach in 2015, and has been a longtime assistant working with Molinari.  “I’m looking forward to the start of the season and to see what we can accomplish” Gomes commented.

The complete Western Mass roster will be released at the end of the week, but here is a glimpse of some players that will be wearing the famous Pioneers shirt.

Stalwart defender Jay Willis returns for another year. The longtime team captain and Ludlow native returns after playing 2015 for WM Pro soccer. Willis is also head coach at Worcester State College.

Goalkeeper Nick Zucco saw time in the Pioneers nets last year.  The 6’2 goalie led Ludlow HS to the 2011 State Championship.  Zucco is currently a junior and a starter at Southern New Hampshire University, where he was CAA All-America, NSCAA All-East Region All-America, CAA All-East Region First Team, and earned Capital One Academic All-America honors last fall. This is his second year with the team.

Midfielder Matt Mooney is a former East Longmeadow HS star and started every game last season at UMass.

Dynamic forward Chris Roswess is a former West Springfield HS and UMass standout.  Roswess played for WM Pro in 2015, and he was named to the ASL All Star team.

Midfielder Kyle Tomas played with Zucco for the Ludlow HS 2011 state championship team. This is his third season with the Pioneers.

Fan favorite midfielder Maxi Viera is a slick, skillful player from Uruguay.  He played with the Pioneers in 2014 and WM Pro Soccer in 2015.

Midfielder Dan Fabian is another WM Pro Soccer player that will team with Viera, Roswess, and Tomas to form a potentially exciting attack. Fabian played soccer at Providence College.

Defensive midfielder Mauricio “Toto” Coimbra is a 6'3 Uruguayan that played for WM Pro in 2015.  He brings much experience to shore up central defense. Coimbra has had playing stints in Argentina and Uruguay.

The 6'4 Defender Ben Lamb, from Keighly, England, will add much strength and skill to defense, and will team up with Coimbra, Willis, and Zucco.  He is a senior at the University of New Haven.

Please visit www.wmpioneers for more information on season tickets and camps, available now.  More information about our home opener and the unveiling of the Eusébio statue at Lusitano Stadium will be released soon.

Chris Roswess