The new Testa-ment; Joe Testa was a spark for Blue Knight soccer

“He certainly could have been a good player there,” said Murawski. “He was definitely a very skilled player that just loved the game.”

That’s why it didn’t surprise anybody when Testa began to pop up in coaching circles. He was just too good to stay away form the game. He spent brief stints as a head coach at Coginchaug High School and Platt High School followed by a few years as Cheshire’s freshman coach before settling in at Wilcox Tech in 2012.

Once again, it was the perfect fit. The coach quickly disbanded the old, direct style of play in favor of a more fundamental, possession offense and the team turned around quickly. The young, inexperienced program that struggled to a 5-9-1 record in his first year played themselves to a 10-5-1 record this fall and earned a home game in the first round of the Class M tournament.

Just like he did at Southington, Testa quickly turned a sub-.500 team into a 10 win contender.

“The kids fought Joe on several levels with their attitudes and play, but Joe handled the situation well with diligence, dedication, and perseverance. It wasn’t long before he won them over,” said Wilcox Tech Athletic Director Sue Perry. “He has a vast knowledge of the game, an extreme dedication to the players, excellent organizational skills, a tremendous sense of humor, a great degree of flexibility, and so many other great characteristics and attributes that make him an outstanding and charismatic coach.”

Testa said that coaching was just the next logical step for a man that loves the game of soccer with all his heart.

“It’s so great to get them involved in the game, teach them what I know, and watch them grow. To me, it gives me the same thrill that I got from playing,” he said. “Soccer has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can’t remember anything else. As you get older you continue to play in the 30 leagues, the 40 leagues, and the 50 leagues, but at some point I knew I had to start giving something back.”

It was no surprise that Southington Sports Hall of Fame officials announced that Testa would be inducted into the local sports hall of fame. Perhaps it was because of the way that he launched the Blue Knights into a competitive program. Perhaps it’s the way he continues to try to shape the game.

“I just want to be remembered as someone who gave it all he had and definitely played for the team,” he said. “I played anywhere that Coach Murawski wanted me to play. Maybe as a pure forward I might have been able to score more goals, but you have to play players where they fit best. I hope that there were a lot of other players that benefited from that. We won a lot of games, and that’s what it’s all about.”

On Thursday, Nov. 14, he will be honored in an induction ceremony at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. To reserve tickets, contact Jim Verderame at (860) 628-7335.

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@southingtonobserver.com.

Former SHS standout Joe Testa offers some tips to a player as his Wilcox Tech team prepares for the upcoming postseason.

Former SHS standout Joe Testa offers some tips to a player as his Wilcox Tech team prepares for the upcoming postseason.

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