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Ryan Veltri returns to Central Mountain as girls soccer coach

A familiar face has returned to the Central Mountain girls soccer program. The Keystone Central School board announced Thursday evening that Ryan Veltri was named as the next coach of the Wildcats.

Veltri led Central Mountain to three Mountain League titles during his time with the team from 2005-2014.

“We believe that Mr. Veltri will provide that welcoming culture and more to our program. In addition to years of experience,” Central Mountain athletic director Stephen Hafele stated during a press release Thursday. “Mr. Veltri aims to bring a pool of talented Central Mountain alumni interested in returning in a coaching capacity.”

After taking a six-year break, Veltri is excited to get started.

“It’s good to be back. The program itself has seen a bump in the road and it’s full of great people. Great student-athletes, a great booster program,” Veltri said. “The youth programs in the area are being developed and instructed by great people. The nucleus is there, it’s just going to take a lot of baby steps to where it was.”

Central Mountain earned its first-ever state berth in 2006, the same year it made the program’s only state semifinal appearance and won the District 6 title. In 2009, 2011 and 2012, the Wildcats came up just shy of winning a District 6 title, losing in the championship each of those seasons. The Wildcats haven’t had a winning season since going 13-3-1 in 2012. Veltri has more than 100 career wins as a coach.

Under Veltri, the Wildcats were conference/divisional champions from 2006-10. He was also a Mountain Athletic Conference Coach of the Year four times.

Despite stepping away from the program in 2014 to dedicate time to his family, Veltri said he feels his never left the program itself.

“Soccer has been my passion since I was 4. The program itself has been special to me, I have never really walked away from the program. Coming back was an easy decision. The things that are going on in the program just worked perfectly for me. I just couldn’t be more excited to get back and be involved,” Veltri said.

He said there will be an emphasis on maintaining possession and defense for the upcoming season.

“The end goal is always finishing as far as we can,” Veltri said. “The philosophy is simple. I’ve always been a coach who’s identified possession with a purpose. Maintaining the ball, keeping the ball and being dangerous in the attack. We’ve got to build up the back, we’ve struggled the last couple of years defensively so I think there will be a focus on that. There’s nothing more exciting than scoring goals, that’s always been a focus.”

As Veltri is assembling his staff for the future and getting back into the groove of coaching, he said community involvement is something he values.

“I think the biggest factor is that the girls need to feel appreciated and valued. They have to know we are their family and are there to support them. They need to be given guidance on and off the field and we need to work together and form a family tradition. Look at being dynamic on and off the field with a huge amount of support from the coaches and alumni,” Veltri said. “There’s a lot of work to do and it’s exciting work. With the hopes of the alumni being involved and the coaching staff that I am trying to assemble, we can do great things.”

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