Getting to Know: Halifax Wanderers Defender Matthew Arnone
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Friday, June 21, 2019
York Region--- Halifax Wanderers defender Matthew Arnone will be returning to York Lions Stadium for the first time as an opposing player Saturday afternoon, when the Wanderers play York 9 FC. This is familiar territory for the Woodbridge, Ontario native, as he achieved a great deal of success playing for the York Lions under coach Carmine Isacco, who serves as the assistant coach for York 9 FC.
Arnone was a late signing for the Wanderers following a five-month stint with Italian club Vis Artena and since arriving, his defensive presence has played a pivotal role in the team’s starting-XI thus far in the inaugural CPL season.
The 25-year-old is a versatile player that is able to play multiple positions and is capable of contributing on both the offensive and defensive-end. During his time at York, Arnone transitioned from being an attacking player to a central defender and was part of the Lions squad that won multiple OUA and CIS championships.
(Photo: Trevor MacMillan.)
Arnone will now get the opportunity to return to York Lions Stadium as a professional on an opposing team. This is another homecoming of sorts for Arnone; he played his former League1 club Vaughan Azzurri in the opening round of the Canadian Championships, which saw Halifax advance on aggregate goals.
The Halifax Wanderers and York 9 FC played to a 1-1 draw when Halifax hosted York last month, so both teams will look to get a big win to build momentum as they approach the conclusion of the Spring season.
BarnBurner founder Joe Peisich and I had the chance to speak with Matthew Arnone earlier this week to discuss plenty of topics including the quality of play in the CPL, what the fan support is like in Halifax, playing at York for the first time as a professional soccer player, what he learned while playing for Carmine Isacco at York, and much more.
Arnone brought up that the Halifax supporters have been engaged and supportive of the team since their opening game and spoke highly about the supporter’s section known as “The Kitchen”. Not only did Arnone speak highly of "The Kitchen", but he also praised the city of Halifax and fanbase overall for the great turnout at their home games, which proves that the city is indeed passionate for professional sports and that the city can be a viable option for other professional leagues.
On and off the field, Arnone has an excellent reputation and is likely to be a cornerstone for the Halifax Wanderers going forward. On this week's 'CPL Back of the Net', York 9 assistant coach Carmine Isacco spoke on how proud he is to see Arnone playing at the professional level in the CPL:
“His development into a professional player is fantastic. Similar to the whole Ryan Telfer situation, he wasn’t given any real opportunities... as much as he probably deserved as far as his workrate was considered, but he stuck with it."
Even going back to Arnone’s time at the high school level, he’s always been a resilient player who has worked hard for his opportunities. Arnone, who was a junior in tenth grade at the time and two-sport athlete in soccer and baseball, was added to the Bressani Eagles' senior squad, which was significant because it wasn't something the coaching staff typically did.
I had a chance to speak with Anthony Gorys, Arnone’s soccer coach at Father Bressani Catholic High School in Woodbridge, Ontario, on Arnone’s development at the high school level. Gorys brought up the decision that went into adding Arnone to the senior squad by stating:
“Bringing junior level players onto the senior team wasn't something we normally did. We had a very talented group of boys and Matthew clearly wanted to be a member with the seniors. He fit right in with his talent. I think the opportunity really helped him grow and mature.”
Gorys then added that the Arnone didn’t get lost in the shuffle but instead, used the opportunity to become a better overall player:
“He was used to being among the best with the kids his own age, but he had to humble himself a bit that first year, and when he did, he flourished. He always played for something bigger than himself....someone bigger than himself. He always worked to make certain people proud of him, I was lucky to be one of those people and coaches.”
In addition to playing in the CPL, Arnone is the founder of Jason’s Wish, which is a charity honouring his brother, who passed away. The charity holds a fundraising event each year with the proceeds going to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
The Wanderers are currently 5th in the CPL standings with a 2-4-1 record however, they’ve advanced to the quarterfinals of the Canadian Championship, where they’ll play the Ottawa Fury and the winner advancing to the semi-finals to play the defending Canadian champions Toronto FC.
Follow Matthew Arnone on social media:
And follow Jason's Wish on social media for more information:
Twitter and Instagram- @jayzwish
Photo Credit: Halifax Wanderers (@HfxWanderersFC), @arnonematthew, York Lions, Trevor MacMillan (canpl.ca)