The St. Augustine Prep soccer program has named a new soccer coach, replacing Steve Rolando, who retired earlier this year after eight season as the Hermits head coach.

Jake Heaton has been named the new head coach of the Hermits.

He has been on the Hermits staff for the past two season under Rolando, takes over one of the top teams in South Jersey. The Hermits have won five Cape-Atlantic League titles, a South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association Tournament win in 2018 and the S.J. Non-Public A title in 2019.

"I can’t overstate the impact Coach Rolando has had on the program and the young men he has coached," Heaton told me via text messgae. "I also can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me personally."

So what can Hermit fans expect to see from Heaton moving forward with whst had been one of the premier programs in South Jersey in recent years?

"I think the most significant thing I have learned from Coach Rolando is the importance of developing culture and brotherhood within the program," said Heaton. "The word brotherhood really means something at the Prep, it’s ingrained in every part of the school. My hope is that I can continue the excellent work Coach Rolando has done over the years and continue to help these young men develop into outstanding individuals."

Rolando spent 27 years with the program, finishing with a career record of 117-48-11.

Heaton previously was the head coach at Cumberland Regional for the Colts for four seasons from 2014-17.

"I’m very proud to work at Cumberland Regional High School and enjoyed my time as the head coach immensely, Heaton stated. "I think the thing I learned most was how to cope with adversity and still have fun. I’m still in contact with nearly everyone who was on that team and I have a lot of fond memories of the young men I worked with at CRHS."

The upcoming 2020 season presents many challenges with the current COVID-19 entertainment,  some Heaton acknowledged when he was hired for the job.

"The most important thing is that everyone continues to stay safe and healthy., Heaton acknowledged. "At this point, it is impossible to say what our season will look like. However, until this pandemic is over, I plan to embrace video technology to allow our players to still meet and come together as a team in order to continue the tradition of brotherhood in the program."

As for the 2020 team, the Hermits will definitely have a different look, with lots of talent moving on due to graduation.

"Last season's team was one of the best in school history, explains Heaton. "We’re graduating 11 seniors, 5 of whom received All State honours and one who was a regional All American. We will miss those players tremendously. With so many players graduating, our team will have to develop a new identity, and our remaining and new players will be provided a fresh start."

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