YORK TWP. — Matt Patera enjoyed every minute of being Buckeye’s boys soccer coach during the last three years — so much so that it never felt like a job.
But after a change in Patera’s workload at his full-time job, the 48-year-old was forced to step down.
“It was not something I wanted to do, but I have to pay the bills,” said Patera, who works in Cleveland’s steel mills. “I talked to my captains (Ben Szustak and Shaemus Dalton) to let them know that there was a change in my work hours. I’m now working seven days a week from 2 p.m. to whenever. I’ve had one day (off) since New Year’s.”
Patera finished with a 28-21-4 record, winning 12 games his first year and having his squad within one win of the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division championship in his second season.
He also helped forge an important connection between the high school teams and the Buckeye Soccer Association.
“We’re sorry to see him go. That’s the best way I can put it,” Buckeye athletic director Glen Reisner said. “He did a good job with our program. He worked with kids well and built the program up to be competitive, but his outside work hours changed.
“He did a good job and the kids loved him, so we’re sorry to lose him.”
While coaching the Bucks, Patera had the good fortune to coach his two oldest sons, Brandon and Andy. Brandon will be entering his sophomore season at the College of Wooster this fall, while Andy is graduating from Buckeye in June.
“It was really nice,” Matt said. “With Brandon and Andy, it was like having another coach on the field. I give them a lot of credit for the leadership that they took upon themselves.”
While Patera won’t be on the Buckeye sideline this fall, he will still have a link to the program.
His youngest son, Chase, is a seventh-grader at Buckeye Junior High. Matt Patera plans on helping out as much as he can at the youth levels, as well as in the summer with the high school team if the new coach wants him to.
“We made some real good advances,” Patera said. “We got more involved with the youth program and that was key. We’re not as big as schools like Brunswick and Cloverleaf, so we wanted to teach those young guys so they know what to expect when they get up to the high school.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.