Rob Upton Steps Down from Classical Soccer Job

By Joyce Erekson

Rob Upton has stepped down from the Classical High boys soccer coaching job after nine years with the program, the last five as head coach.

Upton’s resignation means Classical will be looking to fill two soccer jobs during  the offseason. Last month Justina Gaeta, the Classical girls head coach, stepped down. Gaeta is pursuing her graduate degree and said she is unable to commit the necessary time to coaching.

Upton, who has also been working on his master’s degree, cited time as one of his reasons for giving up the job. His life is about to get considerably busier in the very near future. He and his wife, Jessica, are awaiting the birth their first child any day now.

“The past couple of years, between my job, grad school and family, it has been more difficult. I didn’t feel like I had the time I really needed to dedicate to soccer like I have in the past,” Upton said.

Upton started as a junior varsity coach with the Rams and took over the varsity job five years ago. During his tenure, Classical qualified for the state tournament four of five years. This past fall was the first time the Rams didn’t make the postseason. Classical won the Northeastern Conference South title his first year coaching and the following year won the NEC North.

“That was a great accomplishment for the guys and the program,” he said. “It was nice to be part of that, keeping Classical on the right track as it moved from one side of the NEC to the other side.”

One of the other highlights, Upton said, was defeating Chelsea 1-0 in the first round of the Division 2 North tournament. It was the Rams’ lone postseason win during his time with the program. Upton said winning the Lynn City Soccer Championship several years ago was very special as is seeing players go on to play in college.

Upton said one of his favorite things about coaching is the challenge of bringing the team together. He said there are ups and downs every year. You lose guys, but seeing a player step up and fill the void is fun.

“It’s nice to see who is going to step up,” he said.

Upton played soccer, basketball and baseball at English High. He graduated in 1999 and went on to attend Syracuse University. He currently teaches history at Pickering Middle School. His wife was an assistant girls soccer coach at Classical for a year and is currently a teacher in Salem. She’s also the assistant athletic director and the Salem High girls varsity lacrosse head coach.

Upton also served as the Lynn Tech assistant girls basketball coach under Kevin McDormand and he coached baseball at English at one time. Upton said he’ll probably get back into coaching at some point.

“I don’t plan on being out of it forever,” he said. “I just need to take some time right now.”

Upton said he enjoyed coaching at Classical and has been fortunate to have some great players and work with some excellent coaches.

“It really was a great experience. I’m really grateful to (atheltic director) Bill Devin and (principal) Gend Constantino,” he said.

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