pittsfield boys soccer players celebrate

The Pittsfield boys soccer team will have a new head coach this fall, as Andrew Antil has moved away. Former Medway coach Neill Brandon will take over the program.

Neill Brandon is embracing the Green and Gold of Taconic and Purple of Pittsfield High after nine years at Medway High School.

The Pittsfield Public Schools Athletic Department announced on Wednesday that Brandon, who recently accepted a job teaching social studies at Taconic, is the new varsity boys soccer coach at Pittsfield High School.

“Pittsfield seemed like a great location for work opportunities,” said Brandon, a graduate of Wheaton College and former athlete at Concord-Carlisle High School — where he uncovered his passion for both teaching and coaching.

“I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher and that came with opportunities to coach,” he said. “Giving players a chance to demonstrate skills in different ways, repetition, accountability and team building can all apply to the classroom and on the field.”

Brandon brings nine years of high school coaching experience to Berkshire County. He became the varsity head coach at Medway in the spring of 2014 after three years as a varsity assistant and freshman coach.

“Coach Brandon brings a wealth of knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm for the game of soccer that is contagious,” said Jim Abel, the Athletic Director for Pittsfield Public schools. “We are confident that he can quickly build up a great rapport with our players. He has a deep appreciation for the balances that are required of student-athletes.”

Medway captured MIAA Division III South sectional championships in 2016 and 2019. The Mustangs made the postseason in each of Brandon’s six seasons as head coach and in 2019 appeared in the D-III state championship game, an overtime loss to Western Mass. champion Belchertown.

Brandon is replacing Andrew Antil, who coached varsity boys soccer at Pittsfield for a decade and recently relocated to the Syracuse area. While there was no MIAA-sanctioned tournament in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Generals appeared in the Fall II Berkshire North championship game but fell to Mount Greylock 2-0. Pittsfield reached the quarterfinals in the Western Mass. D-1 tournament in 2018 and 2019. The Generals finished the regular season with a record of 11-3-3 in 2018 and 7-8-3 in 2019.

justice daniels kicks the ball

The Pittsfield boys soccer team will have a new head coach this fall, as Andrew Antil has moved away. Former Medway coach Neill Brandon will take over the program.

“I’ve heard good things from Mr. Abel,” Brandon said. “He has given me some background on the recent history and the foundational work done by the previous coaching staff.

“The program is well organized and features some good soccer brains. Some of these athletes are committed to playing at a higher level and I believe my style and approach should jive nicely with the foundation Pittsfield soccer already has.”

After years coaching the kids he taught, Brandon is looking forward to a split wardrobe, representing both Pittsfield and Taconic.

“Teaching and coaching the same kids had some advantages, but it is a nice change to have some distance,” he said. “Everything I’ve heard is that [Pittsfield and Taconic] are more like sister schools so there could be some fun crossover opportunities.”

Pittsfield soccer is holding tryouts beginning on Aug. 23 and the regular season is slated to begin after Labor Day. Additional athletic information can be found at Pittsfield.net.

“I hold my players to high standards,” Brandon said. “Pittsfield soccer should be expecting success with the foundation that is already in place.”

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com or 413-464-3655..

On Twitter: @JMendel94.

Sports Reporter

As a lifelong Pittsfield resident, Jake gravitates to the nearest field or park. He joined The Eagle as a paperboy in 2005 and worked his way up, becoming a full-time reporter in 2018. He's currently a sports reporter.