Since the 2021 boys soccer season began, Matawan Regional High School coach Tyler Isaacson and his son, Holmdel High School coach Matt Isaacson, were counting down the days until the Huskies and Hornets would face each other on Oct. 8.
The match, which was to be played in Holmdel, marked the first time father and son would coach against each other at the high school varsity level.
Tyler Isaacson has been at the helm of the Matawan squad for seven seasons, while Matt Isaacson is in his second season as the head coach at Holmdel.
“It was the one game of the season we were both looking forward to,” Matt Isaacson said. “We were both pumped this morning when the day finally came.”
Holmdel emerged victorious with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Matawan.
Senior Brendan Worobel scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season in the 16th minute of the match to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, junior Max Woodward scored his first goal of the season with 10:58 to play to seal the 2-0 win. With the victory, the Hornets improved to 7-3.
Holmdel takes a 2-0 lead with 10:58 left to play. Max Woodward smacks a beauty into the back of the net for @HolmdelHSSoccer. CC: @central_jersey @HolmdelHornets @HolmdelHS #NJSoccer ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/Bq8gEWaGMt
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) October 9, 2021
Senior goalkeeper Tommy Chyzowych made nine saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season.
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) October 8, 2021
Matawan fell to 1-8-1 with the loss.
It was Matt’s night, but that did not take away from a moment Tyler said was memorable for him. He said he is proud of what his son has accomplished at Holmdel to keep the program’s recent success going.
“I am very proud of him stepping in and doing the job he’s doing,” Isaacson said. “It’s not easy. The expectations at Holmdel are very high. He has handled it well. I’m very proud of the way he has adjusted quickly. He is getting everything out of these players.”
Tyler Isaacson has been a fixture in youth soccer in Matawan and Aberdeen Township for 20 years and he remains the president of the Aberdeen-Matawan Soccer Club.
On the field, Isaacson was a standout at Rutgers University from 1984-87. He was a first team All-Region selection and helped the Scarlet Knights reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament during the 1987 season.
Fast forward almost 30 years and after Matt graduated from Matawan in 2015, Isaacson decided to take the opportunity to coach the Huskies.
“Soccer is an amazing circle,” Tyler Isaacson said. “I have known a lot of these kids since they were 5 years old. The soccer community around here is amazing. You meet a lot of great people. It’s a great group of soccer people.”
Matt Isaacson competed on the Monmouth University track and field team as a pole vaulter from 2015-19. After graduating, he joined the Holmdel soccer program as an assistant coach under Ron Poll during the 2019 season.
One game into the 2020 season, Poll stepped down and Isaacson was elevated to interim head coach. The Hornets went 12-1-1 under the young coach’s guidance and the interim tag was removed from in front of Isaacson’s name prior to the 2021 campaign.
Father and son were now head coaches in the Shore Conference and it has brought their relationship closer. They have been talking about all things soccer since the 2021 season began, such as on-field formations and how to handle certain situations.
The conversations have been helpful to Matt, who has always looked up to his father for advice and help in the sport.
“Everything I give to these kids with coaching comes from that guy,” Matt said of his dad. “Everything I know is from him. All the coaches in the Shore Conference know how good of a coach he is. It’s a pleasure learning from him and now coaching against him.”
Matt loved every minute of coaching against his father, he said after the game, adding that he is looking forward to having some bragging rights following the Hornets’ win.
At the end of the night though, Matt was really just thrilled to have had the opportunity to coach against his dad and to create another special moment between them. He said he is hoping the story has more chapters ahead.
Tyler said he hopes for the same and looks forward to helping his son in any way he can as a coach.
“To see my son become a coach is a dream come true,” he said. “Hopefully I can guide him and help him in any way going forward.”