UNC Asheville men’s soccer program welcomes home alumni student-athlete, Joseph LaCasto, new assistant coach.

Joseph LaCasto comes full circle and returns to UNCA as the new assistant coach for the mens soccer team.

Grace Gosinanont

Joseph LaCasto comes full circle and returns to UNCA as the new assistant coach for the mens soccer team.

Israel Garcia-Perez, [email protected], Sports writer

The UNC Asheville men’s soccer program brings in a new assistant coach this spring with previous ties to the Bulldogs as a former athlete.

UNCA Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach Joseph LaCasto will join the Bulldogs as he enters the fourth year of his coaching career and will look to bring new knowledge and excitement to the team. 

“I decided to come back to UNC Asheville because it was the next step in my coaching career. At Mars Hill University, I was the second assistant and will now be the first assistant coach at UNC Asheville,” LaCasto said. 

LaCasto hails from Huntington Beach, CA. and graduated from UNCA in 2019, playing on the men’s soccer team during his time at the school. Now, LaCasto returns just a few years later to the program and school he once called home. 

“UNC Asheville gave me the opportunity to play Division I college soccer while also getting my degree at an affordable cost for me and my family,” LaCasto said.

After graduating, LaCasto spent one season as a volunteer assistant coach at UNCA before moving to Mars Hill University for the past two seasons.

LaCasto said his coaching stint at Mars Hill served as a key experience that built his coaching style and knowledge, and he hopes to bring those learned skills to the table at UNCA. 

“My experience at Mars Hill was fantastic. It was a great learning experience and I was able to continue developing my coaching abilities. I am forever grateful for the opportunity (Mars Hill Head Men’s Soccer) Coach Munn gave me. Now at UNC Asheville, I will have more roles and responsibilities which I am looking forward to,”  LaCasto said. 

According to LaCasto, he is always open to different coaching opportunities as he looks to progress in his coaching career. With the recent move back to UNC Asheville, he said he hopes to stay for a longer time and help guide the program to success within the Big South conference. 

“I would love to see the program take the next step in terms of becoming regular Big South contenders. We have the resources, players and coaching staff to compete with in the Big South conference,” LaCasto said.

Numerous players on the men’s team have previously received coaching from LaCasto. With two UNCA alums – LaCasto and UNCA Head Men’s Soccer Coach Mick Giordano – at the helm, players said they feel committed to learning and growing as a program. 

“It’s a privilege to have two alumni as a staff. Their care for the program is unmatched and will do anything to help us and this program succeed. Joe served as captain of this program for two years, so he knows what it takes to be successful,” said Justin Fleer, a junior on the men’s soccer team.

According to Fleer, not only will the program be incorporating new additions to the coaching staff, but will also bring in transfer players from other schools for the spring season.

“It is always exciting when you can work with a new group of players. We are trying to help them buy into what we are trying to do here at UNC Asheville,” LaCasto said. 

Rossetti said this year will look a lot different than in the past. The team is almost entirely new from coaches to players. 

“We’re a group that wants to be here and that is dedicated to learning and improving every day. Our goal this semester is to set the foundations of a great culture to build our program off of,” said Andrew Rossetti, a senior on the men’s soccer team.

LaCasto said the new coaching and potential player additions bring a newfound excitement to the program this spring. 

“I’m really excited about the new coaching staff we have going forward. Both our coaches are alumni and are young. I’m confident that they’ll be able to coach us and I know they can also relate to us since they walked in our shoes not so long ago,” said Rossetti.

According to players, bringing in a new coaching staff, transfers and 2022 recruits will bring a new environment to the program. 

“I only look at it as exciting because it shows the pull that UNCA still has for college soccer. It’s our turn to make this program successful again,” Rossetti said. 

UNC Asheville players said after losing seniors to graduation and other players to the transfer portal,  personnel changes will bring a new group together and start to form a new program foundation. 

We focused on bringing in good players, more importantly good people, into our program to drive us forward. They’ve been wonderful in the first week and we’re happy to have them here,” LaCasto said. 

The men’s soccer team will play six games this spring, with four of them being at home at Greenwood Field.