Eusebio Marote is the First “Coach of the Year” Winner from a Community College
When Eusebio Marote learned he got the job as Northern Essex Community College’s men’s soccer coach in 2019, he wasn’t quite sure what he was getting into. It had been 25 years since the college had a men’s soccer team, and he and Director of Athletics Dan Blair would have to build the program from the ground up.
“We barely had enough players that year,” remembers Marote. “It was 9-12 guys, max.”
That team ended the season 6-8-1. Despite the losing record, Coach Marote saw a lot of bright spots in the season and knew that he already had a solid foundation built.
“I’m competitive- no matter what it is. I like to win. I’m always going to try to be successful and strive to be better.”
Marote is no stranger to winning. As the son of a former professional soccer player from Portugal, he says he can’t remember a time when soccer wasn’t a big part of his life. He started playing on club teams in and around his hometown of Lowell, MA, from a young age. He was captain of the Lowell High School team and went on to become a four-year starter and three-year captain at Daniel Webster College. He led that team to the national tournament three years in a row and was twice named to the New England Collegiate Conference All-Conference 2nd Team.
Marote knew he could take that success he’d found as a player and translate it into a coaching career. It was just a couple of years later, after graduating with his degree in Sports and Fitness Administration/Management, that he took the helm of the NECC men’s program.
After that first season, Marote points out that “each year, we’ve gotten significantly better.” In the second season (played in 2021, the team did not play in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions), the Knights made the playoffs, and last season they had a winning record for the first time. Going into this season, Marote felt things were falling into place. But he wasn’t totally prepared for what happened next.
“This season was so overwhelming in a good way- I think that’s due to hard work, dedication, trying to bring in the best players possible, and making them believe in something.”
The 2023 Knights went undefeated in conference play, earning the top seed in the regional and district tournaments with a 7-0-1 record. NECC also won their first-ever post-season game, 6-1, against Community College of Rhode Island, before falling to Bunker Hill in the Regional and District Championship final match. Marote says the team broke 25 school records this year, including the most goals scored in a season. Jadiel Bonfim scored 27 goals for the Knights and recently became the first NECC Knight soccer player named to the First Team All-America team.
Marote also scored a “first.” He was named the Matt Cushing College Coach of the Year by the Eastern Massachusetts Soccer Coaches Association. The award is named in honor of the former Wheaton College coach who passed away in 2017. Marote is the first community college coach to win the award.
“I’m grateful for the award. I appreciate they recognized our success,” says Marote. “My goal is to always be successful as a team. And that can mean a lot of things. It’s not always about winning championships. No matter what this program goes through in the future, we are doing the best we can.”
Marote is already hard at work ahead of next year’s season. He spends his days working on the Northern Essex Lawrence Campus in Maintenance and Facilities and his evenings talking to potential players. He says this stellar season has helped raise awareness about the program and about the benefits of attending community college.
“It’s a good option to play at a collegiate level for a good price instead of just jumping into it. It’s an opportunity to improve as an athlete and get that experience that prepares them in every single way, including academically,” Marote says. “I want these student-athletes to know if they select us, I guarantee they’re not going to regret it. Next year we’re going to match what we’ve done this year.”