I grew up in the small town of Granby, Connecticut where a small group of 8-year old girls came together for the first time to begin their travel soccer season. A combination of natural talent, instant camaraderie and love for the game quickly solidified the team as a standout among statewide competitors and premier clubs. In our time together, we played in seventeen (17) seasonal tournaments, reached the championship game in every one of those tournaments and won thirteen (13). We won in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and in Connecticut including one of Connecticut's premier club's annual tournament as the only travel team participant. Over five years, we played in 170 games and only lost nineteen (19) of them. We won the Connecticut Cup in back to back seasons and reached the finals of the President's Cup played in Maryland where we lost to the eventual national champion from Eastern Pennsylvania. "Together" was our mantra, mindset and cheer before and after every practice and game. Together was the way we would win a state championship someday.
While some of us have joined club soccer, we will come together for one more high school season. I attribute our success to three things: staying together as teammates, never losing sight of our goals and working our hardest to achieve them. Each time we step on the field is a new chance to be challenged, to be pushed further and to inch closer to accomplishing our goals. Individually, from a mid-fielder's perspective, I realized in my position it was (and is) my responsibility to see plays before they happened. I developed a selfless mentality creating opportunities for my high school and club teammates. When we lost three senior defenders to graduation, my coach asked me to play defense for my junior season and I believe I am a better player now for doing so. These same teamwork and leadership skills learned on the field are attributes that I still apply to my daily life today and why I was honored to receive the team's leadership award after my junior season.
While soccer is my passion, I also enjoy playing lacrosse. Athletics continue to be a big part of my life and playing two sports must be balanced with the desire to succeed academically. My schoolwork comes first and requires the same discipline needed to succeed on the field. I am proud to be a student-athlete and work equally hard in both roles. If I have learned anything from my soccer journey, I think of Henry Ford's quote that "coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success."