Niagara men have two keepers
The heart and soul of the Niagara College men’s soccer team is found in net.
Niagara Falls native Vinson Notarianni and St. Catharines native Anthony Argueta are crucial components on the young squad.
“When we are having small games (during practice), they totally motivate the team with their work ethic. The team completely feeds off of them,” Niagara head coach Frank DeChellis said. “At training, they work to the point where they are actually getting hurt. And that means they are both training hard.”
He has been thrilled with both keepers on and off the field.
“They both came to work, they both have been with us since the winter in an indoor league and our returning players loved them from the start. The guys enjoy them because they are both great kids. They are funny, they are serious, they work hard and they have the right attitude for this level of soccer.”
Notarianni started the season opener last Friday and Argueta played Wednesday night at Conestoga. DeChellis is letting them battle it out for the No. 1 spot and he’s not worried how that competition will affect the two keepers.
“When we told Anthony that Vinny was starting our home opener, he worked even harder with him at training to get him ready. It’s a partnership but it is a partnership where they both want to play.”
Argueta has a great relationship with his fellow keeper.
“Our biggest positive through this whole experience is we are not competing to be the No. 1. I am glad to be a part of the squad and I am more than happy to have Vinny in when I am not. I wouldn’t have anyone else,” he said. “We have that understanding that we are pushing each other to play to the best of our abilities. We grow together and we go from there. Right from the start, we were just motivating each other.”
Notarianni echoes those comments.
“If one of us is having a rough practice, we try to cheer each other up. And we have Gerry (D’Angelo), our great goalie coach, who helps us with a lot of things. He has really improved my game over the last month and I feel I have gotten to another level because of him.”
Having two goalies on the same page is important.
“The keeper’s job is to keep everyone motivated and keep them on their toes. If the two keepers commanding the field don’t like each other, you have a disconnect with the players and each individual keeper,” Argueta said. “When you don’t have that type of chemistry, things fall apart on the field.”
The 21-year-old played mostly at the recreational level but did suit up for some travel soccer with Niagara United. He played throughout high school at Denis Morris but stopped when he began attending Brock and working part-time.
“I didn’t really see myself coming to Niagara College but through COVID and stuff I ended up figuring out I wasn’t really in the program I wanted to be in at Brock in regards to my career goals.”
Argueta suited up in the Peninsula Soccer League and got back in touch with Niagara assistant coach Rino Berardi, who taught Argueta when he was a Grade 4 student at St. Christopher.
“I saw him at one of my games and he asked me to come out for the winter indoor league at Youngs Sportsplex. I met some of the guys and I started to think about Niagara College because I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said. “I wanted to take a program to help in my career path and I also wanted to play soccer. I tried out and thankfully made it.”
Argueta graduated from Brock with a degree in public health and is now enrolled in the electrical engineering technician course at Niagara.
“It is a really big switch in my career path but I am happy and liking it so far. I am hoping it is the place I stay this time.”
Argueta describes his Niagara soccer experience as amazing.
“We have a great group of guys. Everyone is friendly and no one is out there competing only for themselves. They want to compete for the team, they are team-oriented and we are all having fun.”
He has high hopes for the team.
“We are a young team but we have a lot of potential to grow. I am thinking it is going to be a good year.”
Argueta is looking to develop his my skills.
“I was on a long hiatus and I am getting back into it. Thankfully I have picked up skills over the years to allow me to be on the team and I was someone they were looking for at the moment,” he said. “I found myself being a little timid mostly because I hadn’t played soccer in so long. I was used to standing in the back and letting the ball come to me. I realized at the collegiate level you have to be a lot more aggressive and a lot more integrated rather than just standing in your net.”
Notarianni, an 18-year-old A.N. Myer graduate, didn’t play at the high school level because he was focusing on travel ball. He was a member of Club Roma’s League1 reserve squad before ending up at Niagara.
“A year ago, Frank reached out to me saying he was interested in having me come out next year. He was trying to recruit me but I wanted to come here to Niagara College because they offered a program that had my interest, hairstyling/barbering, and that really caught my attention,” he said. “I ended up coming out for the tryouts and here I am on the team.”
He is loving being a Niagara College soccer player.
“It has been fantastic. It is a great coaching staff, great teammates, a wonderful environment and a great school.”
Starting the home opener was a thrill for Notarianni.
“It was very exciting and it was awesome to have all the supporters out here cheering us on. It was a big crowd for our home opener.”
He is looking to develop at Niagara.
“I want to take my game to another level. I have to keep coming out, working hard and keeping putting in the work I have been putting in. And obviously I have to keep performing in the games.”
Like Argueta, Notarianni has high hopes for the team.
“I expect us to move forward from our first loss. We have a bright future here. We have a young team and hopefully we can win some games down the stretch and get in the playoffs.”