Despite the recent winter weather that has dumped in excess of two feet of snow across Long Island, the 2000 Girls South Olympic Development Program (ODP) Team representing Eastern New York Soccer Association has been preparing for Nationals set for February 26 to 28 in Phoenix.
Eastern New York won its Regionals by going 5-0-0 and will now face Cal South in the semi-finals, with the winner of that match meeting the North Carolina-Illinois winner for the national championship on February 28. The challenge for Eastern New York is proper training in the face of challenging weather conditions.
“It would foolish of me to think that we can emulate the environment that will be presented to us at Nationals as the weather in New York right now won’t allow that to happen,” said Jaime Gonzalez, Eastern New York’s head coach. “All we can do is train to the best of our ability through properly-prepared training and fitness sessions that will help us compete at the national level. I am very confident in the ability of this great group of players and know that no matter what happens, they will give everything they have to compete.”
The team of 18 girls from Long Island and New York City who were born in 2000 are coached by Gonzalez and assistant coach Brooke DeRosa. The squad is currently training in a few indoor facilities in Long Island and, after the snow melts again, on the turf field at Allen Park in Farmingdale.
“I would like to personally thank the Eastern New York staff for their full support and faith in us in guiding this group to the Nationals,” said Gonzalez. “A special thanks to all the players and parents for their complete commitment in trying to achieve this goal of winning a national championship. Many players and coaches never reach this great milestone and I feel privileged to be a part of it.”
ODP is considered the highest level of competition in the state. Crystal Dunn is a former Eastern New York ODP player who currently plays for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League is also currently a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
In photo, top row from left: Karlie Stolls, Sydney Moore, Brianna Passaro, Emily Rose, Caitlin Gumann, Kayla Winnicki, Alex West, Grace Bernardi, Sara Tappeto, Sara Micheli. Bottom row from left: Sophia Fikke, Maya Scholnick, Jackie Morris, Madelyn Pascarella, Kayleigh Goodrich, Krista Agostenello, Skylar Prendergast. (Not pictured, Olivia Johnson.)
Information for this story supplied by Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association.