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Steve Waters recently joined the Old Saybrook boys’ soccer team’s coaching staff following a remarkable run as head coach of the squad at Farmington. (Photo courtesy of Steve Waters )
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The Old Saybrook boys’ soccer team has brought in a renowned coach to serve on its coaching staff this season. Steve Waters, one of the most recognizable figures in Connecticut soccer, joins the Rams after having spent the past 36 years as the head coach of boys’ soccer at Farmington High School. Steve is in the midst of his first year as a varsity assistant and the head coach of Old Saybrook’s JV team.
“I’ve already found myself fitting in well as a JV and assistant varsity coach,” Steve says. “I had a long-time assistant [Chris Garrahan at Farmington]. We spent so many hours together. I took some time to study what his role was. That’s what I’m doing now.”
Steve recorded 557 victories during his tenure at Farmington, advancing to 14 state finals and claiming nine state titles in three different divisions. Steve’s 557 wins put him in second place behind E.O. Smith’s John Blomstrann for the most victories in the history of Connecticut high school soccer.
Steve and Blomstrann have both received Gold Keys from the Connecticut Sportswriters’ Alliance. The award is one of the biggest distinctions that’s given to sports figures in the state. Blomstrann received his Gold Key in 2013, and Steve was presented with his in 2017.
“John and I entered this season with the same number of wins,” says Steve. “Seeing as I’m no longer a head coach, that would freeze my total and leave me in second place for now.”
Steve’s decision to leave Farmington at the end of the 2018 season was one of several recent life changes for the longtime coach. Steve recently moved to Clinton and will marry Christine Riccio later this month.
“I’m not exactly new to this area. My parents have had a summer home in Westbrook for many years,” Steve says. “Christine and I re-met after not seeing each other for 36 years. Everything is changing for me.”
Steve is taking on a dual role with the Rams as their JV coach and a varsity assistant. Head Coach Sam Barnes feels excited to be welcoming a coach who has so much experience and has seen such a great deal of success.
“It’s an honor to have this guy on my staff,” says Barnes. “We’ve known each other through the coaching circles for a long time. We’ve always gotten along fine, both on and off the field and, of course, we have a common love for soccer.”
Steve was an All-State defender at Wethersfield High School, helping the Eagles win the Class LL state championship in 1975. He was also an All-Conference third baseman for the baseball team.
Steve went on to attend the University of Hartford, where he devoted himself solely to soccer. Steve scored 14 goals between his two seasons playing the sweeper position at Hartford, turning himself into an All-New England player.
Steve had brief stint in the pros with the Philadelphia Fever of the Major Indoor Soccer League. Shortly thereafter, he began his coaching career at Farmington. In 2011, Steve was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame.
After putting together a historic run at Farmington, Steve decided that he wanted to move on to new horizons. He applied for the job at Old Saybrook and is happy to be a part of the Rams’ soccer family.
“For me, it was time to move on,” Steve says. “I felt I’d accomplished just about all I could at Farmington. I still had the spark to remain in the game, however. So, once I got established down here, I began looking around.”
Steve comes to Old Saybrook on the heels of a 2018 season that saw the Rams claim the Class S state title. As he begins this new chapter of his career, Steve is eager to help Old Saybrook maintain its place as one of the top squads in both the Shoreline Conference and the state by helping the Rams’ younger players get prepared for the varsity level.
“Right now, for me, it’s about teaching technique and developing our younger players, getting them ready for what they’ll need to do as varsity players,” says Steve. “And encouraging them about how to become winners.”
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