Meet Poly’s New Soccer Coaches


Sergio Abboud and Carlo Carson

As the soccer season has wrapped up, the NYSAIS championships are just behind us. Both the boys’ and girls’ teams have had major successes this season. New coaches were introduced to both teams this season.

Matthew Pavlich, Head Poly Varsity Soccer Coach, has been a soccer coach since he graduated from Vassar College as the captain of his soccer team. Before then, he had played all throughout his childhood and academic career. As he fell deeper in love with the game, he moved to New York in hopes of coaching soccer in the city. 

He began working for Downtown United Soccer Club then moved on to the position of assistant coach for Martin Luther King High School and eventually Riverdale Country Day School. When the Poly Prep head coaching job opened up, Pavlich was proposed as a candidate. He stated the “community of the school” interested him the most. He was offered the position and without hesitation he accepted the job.

Pavlich saw the job as not only a new opportunity but also as a completely new environment in comparison to where he had been before. He particularly likes the “borderline world-class facilities” and the renowned trainers, coaches, and support staff Poly has to offer. 

A few months later, the team went from 2 wins to 11; while the team had an unfortunate semi-final loss to Fieldston, the season was an overall success. In the previous year, the team didn’t make the playoffs and were at a very different stage in late October compared to where they are now. Pavlich emphasized that “work ethic and attitude of the team” has brought them to the success they’ve seen throughout the fall, and said he believes the culture this team has built over the past three months has been the source of their success. 

Even though the team consists of many seniors, he also noted the strength of the underclassmen, believing the results of this season are only the beginning of what this program can accomplish. The goal of the soccer team is to build players to play not only at the high-school level, but also at the collegiate level and perhaps even farther. According to Pavlich, part of his mission is to help kids realize “how big the world is through college soccer.”


 The Girls’ Varsity Soccer program also experienced a coaching turnover this season, with new head coach Tara Heatley filling the shoes of previous coach and athletic director, Kristin Cannon.

Heatley began her coaching career directly after graduating college. Prior to that, Heatley played soccer for the entirety of her childhood into young adulthood. Her hard work paid off and earned her a spot at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a NCAA Division 1 collegiate institution. 

 Shortly after she graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson, she started her first coaching job at Downtown United Soccer Club in Manhattan, similarly to Pavlich. Later, Heatley earned the position of head coach at the Pratt Institute, a Division 3 institution where she worked with the women’s soccer team for two seasons. Finally, she made the decision to coach at Poly. Heatley came to Poly partly because she “loved the community of Poly and the athletic department as a whole.” The main thing that differentiated the Poly coaching tactics from other programs for Heatley was “the support from the admissions, academics, and athletics has made my job much smoother and easier.” This gave Heatley the opportunity to focus more on her players as athletes while simultaneously connecting with them on a deeper level. Building a strong bond between a team is the key to success for any sports team. 

Recently the Girls’ Soccer team earned the number one seed in the Ivy Prep League and won the NYSAIS tournament. Although this is nothing new for the Girls’ Soccer program here at Poly, Heatley says that the key to success was “how hard working and how much support these girls have for each other, and their team chemistry right now.”