Morgan Golliver, Sports Editor
In the summer of 2017, Matthew Guinto stepped onto the Utica College campus ready to lead the Pioneers’ men’s soccer team and also share his overall passion for soccer.
Guinto’s interest in soccer started at a young age when he took after his older brother.
“After picking up soccer from my brother, I found that I had a talent for it and loved it that I made it my life,” Guinto said.
When Guinto started playing soccer for Manlius Pebble Hill School in his hometown of Syracuse, he played with teammates who went on to excel for big-named colleges in Division I and Division III schools and playing with them really caught his attention about college.
“From playing alongside these guys, they really pushed me in the right direction and helped me start thinking more seriously about playing soccer in college,” Guinto said.
From then on, Guinto played at St. John Fisher, a rival of UC in the Empire 8 conference, and then took his skills further on when signing with a semi-professional team in Binghamton. His team won their conference three years in a row.
While playing in Binghamton, Guinto was asked to coach a soccer camp, and then, coincidentally, he was offered his first full-time coaching opportunity for the Johnson City modified team.
“At that point, I realized I loved coaching and loved that it kept me involved with soccer because I knew eventually I would be done physically playing,” Guinto said.
When coming to coach at UC, Guinto said at first he didn’t get the position but kept following up and staying in touch with Brian Marcantonio, the head coach, to get the position when it was offered the following season.
“I love it here, and it’s close to home because my whole family is in Syracuse, including my five-year-old nephew,” Guinto said. “I’ve been nagging Coach Marcantonio for a full-time assistant position because I have found my second home here.”
Marcantonio confirmed the strong relationship between himself and his assistant.
“Matt and I have a pretty good working relationship where for the most part we’re always on the same page,” he said. “But, when we’re not on the same page, it’s pretty easy to communicate with him with what I’m seeing or what he’s seeing that I might not be seeing. Overall, I’ve enjoyed having him as an assistant and he is a good representative of the college.”
Junior forward Thomas Muller described what it was like when Guinto joined the team.
“When you get any new coach, there’s kind of a feeling out process of getting to know how he is and him getting to know us,” Muller said. “But, it wasn’t that hard getting to know him because he’s like us and is passionate about the sport.”
Muller also added what type of coaching style Guinto brings to the team, which really helps them stay focused and prepared at all times.
“He’s really big on game prep and making sure that we’re focused before every game,” Muller said. “In games, he’s always passionate and makes sure we’re switched on and alert and that’s something that we didn’t have before. Coach Marcantonio can’t watch all 30 of us, so Guinto really adds to his system.”
Junior forward Randy Malek also shared how passionate Coach Guinto is.
“The passion he brings to the team, even being out of the game for so long, really shows that he cares, and it really reflects on us,” Malek said. “We show him his mindset that we can do what he asks us to and we show him that we have his back just as he has ours.”
Overall, Muller, Malek and the rest of the UC men’s soccer team have enjoyed working with Coach Guinto and look forward to a new season next fall with their coaching staff
“He’s what you want in an assistant coach because he’s always there for us and is always behind us, and you can’t ask for much more,” Muller said.