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DJ Pinton’s Collegiate Career Comes Full Circle as Head Coach of Ramapo College Men’s Soccer Team

Even after 15 years as the head coach of Ramapo College Men’s Soccer, DJ Pinton still says it’s a joy to be on the field together for each session. Pinton says keeping things pretty light off the field makes him feel younger than he is.

“It’s very special, my home and only place I really know,” said Pinton.

Pinton played three years on the team in the late 1990’s. In his second season, the Roadrunners won their first postseason title that was the ECAC (Eastern Conference Athletic Conference) championship. In 1997, Pinton was named Ramapo College Athlete of the Year.

In his final season on the team, the Roadrunners made their first NCAA appearance, while Pinton earned Mid-Atlantic Regional All-American Honors, as well as All-Conference and All-State honors. The crowning achievement for Pinton came in 2006, where he was inducted into the Ramapo College Athletic Hall of Fame.

“A great year for me individually and the team in 1997,” Pinton said. “There were some other athletes that could have won the award. The 2006 Hall of Fame was a great individual achievement and reminded me of my days of being on the field with my teammates for the NCAA and ECAC Championship.”

After graduating with a degree in marketing in 1997, Pinton returned to the team in 2000, serving as an assistant for four years before he was named the head coach in 2004. In his four first years at the helm, the Roadrunners won 39 games. Pinton’s overall record is 143-106-28. This season, Ramapo College is off to strong start, posting a 11-2 record and is currently in second place in the NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference).

“There were holdovers from my father’s team and credit him with the transition,” said Pinton. “I brought some recruits but it was the college that gave me an opportunity.

“Really happy and pleased with the way the team has played this season and put a lot of work and preparation coming into this season. The guys are pretty committed and [have been ]rewarded with success so far.”

Junior forward Joseph Fala leads the way with a team high 16 goals and 37 points and is steadily moving up the record list for most goals during the regular season.

“Joe has grown tremendously with the program. We gave him opportunities and he has taken upon himself with our strength and conditioning coach to strengthen up and get bigger,” said Pinton. “Playing year round with club soccer leading into this year and results have shown this year.

“A great group together collectively who truly care about each other and onboard for the same goal to win games. Joe has contributed a lot of goals for us but we have other guys attracting attention and chipping in with timely moments and finishing in key situations. A team effort defensively and goalkeeping has been great.

“Doing the little things, connecting, staying focused and not getting distracted and keep on competing every day and in games and getting results. Nothing has been handed to us yet, we expect good things but have to earn it. Coming in not worried about finishing high in the NJAC but we knew we had the product to compete, kept focusing on ourselves and didn’t care about the preseason rankings. Can’t always anticipate what we did in the off-season with the recruits we brought in but the transfers have been instrumental in bolstering our roster and getting us deeper.”

Not only has Pinton brought a winning tradition to the men’s soccer team but to the recruiting process, with all-time goal scorer in Roadrunners history in Rob Santaniello with 21 back in 2010.

“We’re trying to expand our horizons outside of New Jersey, trying to show student-athletes what Ramapo is about and gain from it,” said Pinton. “We’re a small school but really care about the students and athletes. The last few years we had a change in administration between a new athletic director and VP who brought in and instilled a pride in Ramapo College and given us where we need to build upon the program and definitely grown the past couple of years.

“Made it easier for myself to do what I need on and off the field. As a department coming into a whole with all the teams’ trying to support each other. We have the Bradley Center, a beautiful indoor athletic facility and outdoor facilities are well-maintained and now our goal is to improve the amenities out there with lights and night games and field house for our teams. Something in the vision of the current administration, goes to show the commitment to the student athletes.”

Besides his head coaching duties, Pinton also serves as the Full-Time Coordinator of Athletic Facilities and Resource Management/Budget Coordinator. He has spent time training overseas with the Italian professional club  A.C. Arezzo and involved with youth soccer as Director of the Cosmos Soccer Camps.

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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