Born to play soccer: Johnny Troiano’s path to success for Rowan Men’s Soccer

Johnny Troiano goes in for a headbutt. Troiano has established himself as a star player for the Profs in less than two full seasons. - Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. - Photo via Lee Kotzen

As a sophomore, Johnny Troiano has consistently been one of the best players on the field for the Rowan men’s soccer team in 2023.

Troiano has been playing soccer for the majority of his life, a hobby that started when he got his first soccer ball he got as a present when he was just two years old.

“I’ve been playing since I was three or four, but I loved soccer almost immediately,” Troiano said. “Once I got my first soccer ball for my second birthday, I have been laser-focused on soccer.”

Troiano attended high school at St. John Vianney and scored 43 career goals, with 23 coming in his senior season under Head Coach Ryan Tetro. Troiano talked about how Tetro’s coaching style is completely different from the approach of Head Coach Scott Baker here at Rowan.

“High school soccer was a fun time. Coach Tetro was a lot more easygoing and wasn’t too much of a loud person when it came to breaking down what went wrong,” Troiano said. “Baker on the other hand will pinpoint what went wrong and what we need to do to score in the situations we didn’t.”

Troiano was recruited by several schools, but Rowan was the one that stuck out and it only took one visit to the school with Coach Baker for Troiano to make it official.

“I was talking to a lot of schools, but the day that I visited here I committed that day,” Troiano said. “Meeting Coach Baker and him not promising me anything made me want to work for what I believed to be a starter spot on this team. I am glad that I chose Rowan and I look forward to the rest of this season as well as the next two to come.”

The forward/midfielder has taken on a role as the number one shot-taker for the Profs, as he leads the team with 53 shots with 31 being on goal. Troiano is Rowan’s scoring leader so far this season with ten goals, which is also third in the entire New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

“I’ve had success coming in based on my work ethic and finding little pockets to score inside the 18,” Troiano said. “Last season, coming in brand new was an adjustment that for me wasn’t too bad and it showed with our play as a team.”

The 5’8″ Troiano always steps up when the Profs need him, as he has two go-ahead scores that have helped the team secure two of their five wins up to this point. 

“Speed is a big factor, and sometimes being in the right spot is the difference maker when it comes to where the ball is placed,” Troiano said. “Sometimes you get beat to the spot and the ball is headed in the other direction.”

Troiano, as well as being the leading goal-scorer, is second on the team in assists with four. 

Troiano was also a part of FC Monmouth this past summer, alongside teammates Davide Caputo and Mason Martelloni. Troiano touched on the connection between the three of them and how it translates onto the field.

“I would say our connection is really good. Davide and I have been playing together since we were seven, eight years old,” Troiano said. “That connection on the field has only gotten stronger over the years, and with Mason, I have been under Mason’s wing since I got here and he has been crucial in my growth as a player on this team.”

The Profs, with the help of Troiano, currently boast a 5-3-5 record and a 3-2-1 record against NJAC opponents. Rowan will look to take down The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at home in Glassboro.

“This is the game that is most important out of the three remaining and we need to walk away with the win,” Troiano said. “Being in the NJAC as the fourth seed isn’t something we are happy about, but it’s something that can move up and down with our next games all being NJAC opponents.”

With the final stretch of games in near sight, Coach Baker’s focus is to set up the Profs to be able to respond to any situation or outcome they might face, as minor mistakes have haunted the Profs.

“If I had the exact approach to close out these next couple of games, we would have a lot more wins and a lot less losses on our record,” Baker said. “It all starts with our strikers and everything up to the back line ending with Dylan [Aportela] in goal. Johnny [Troiano] is a big part of our offense and he has put us in golden opportunities with not just his goals, but his set-up passes that have helped others to score.”

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