A family affair on the pitch

BEACON FALLS — Tony Moutinho led the Woodland boys soccer team to an undefeated regular season record, a second division title in a row, the program’s first Naugatuck Valley League championship, and the top seed in the Class M state tournament this fall.

Moutinho employs a unique coaching style. He’s humorous but serious. He barks at his players while still letting them take care of business on the field.

For most players, the soccer chatter was always done for the day as soon as they left the pitch. But for one player, it never ends.

“I hear from him on the field, hear from him on the ride home, hear from him when I get home, hear him all the time,” said Tony’s son, Matt, a senior co-captain. “So, if I do something wrong, I hear it for the next week. Most kids just hear it on the field. I hear it when I go to sleep.”

Woodland senior Matt Moutinho, left, notched five goals and had eight assists this season for the Hawks as his father, head coach Tony Moutinho, guided Woodland to the program’s first Naugatuck Valley League championship and an undefeated regular season. RA ARCHIVE

Neither Matt nor Tony thinks anybody plays favorites on a team that set the school record for wins in a season. In fact, they think their familial relationship actually makes it a little tougher on the field at times.

“I think it actually works the other way,” Tony said. “It works against him because he’s my son. People think I’m [picking] favorites so, sometimes it hurts him.”

To make sure favoritism doesn’t play a role, Tony sometimes has to be a little extra harsh toward Matt on the field. That doesn’t always go over so well with Matt.

“I take it a little more offensive,” Matt said. “I feel like he’s yelling at me from a dad’s point of view and a coach’s point of view. I feel like I’m getting double.”

But during his senior season, there weren’t a lot of things about which Tony could yell. The Hawks finished 18-1-1 while Matt scored five goals and had eight assists. He also scored the game-winning goal on a header in the NVL championship against Watertown.

Matt and Tony say their soccer relationship is usually good, as they talk about the sport almost all of the time. But on days that Tony has a little extra to say to his son, somebody else gets involved.

“The worst days are when I get home, I have to listen to my wife because I’m picking on him on the field,” Tony said. “She thinks I’m always picking on him. … That’s all we talk about, soccer in general. My wife gets upset sometimes. She says, ‘Let’s change the conversation, let’s do something else.’”