The West Hartford U-12A girls travel soccer team played tough, thoughtfully, and smart, and finished the season Nov. 9 with resounding success.
Submitted by Stephen Boucher
Under the prolific leadership of coach Joe Wysocki and team manager Corey Glider, the West Hartford U-12A girls travel soccer team flourished this fall season, delivering a “treble” by winning the prized Connecticut State Cup Championship, finishing atop their league, and taking first place in the Rocky Hill Sylvie Poulin Columbus Day Tournament.
This season’s resounding success wasn’t expected; rather, it was thoughtfully imagined into existence.
While the team earned a top quality reputation by reaching the State Cup semifinals in the fall 2018 season and the quarterfinals in the spring 2019 season, the squad entering fall 2019 had to figure out a way to powerfully integrate five new players after losing a core group of talent.
Brian Ackerman and Steve Boucher, parents of two players, began to enact a vision for building championship chemistry among the players and their families. It started with weekly training sessions they ran throughout the summer to foster player bonding within a fun atmosphere while they also developed their speed, juggling, dribbling, and shooting technique.
Ackerman then set out to grow the overall community by inviting player families to enjoy entertaining activities together. The final element of the vision was to instill a tradition specifically aimed at capturing the State Cup. Therein another player parent, Jesse Archambeault, was recruited to coordinate team dinners on the Friday evenings before each Saturday Cup game.
In dramatic fashion, through purposeful steps, an inspired vision became a reality.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, the girls defeated Ridgefield Black 1-0 in regular time to take home the State Cup. However, the road to the championship had to go through a formidable Farmington team in the semifinals.
After a 1-1 regular time result and an intense overtime, West Hartford secured victory with a strongly-executed penalty kick shootout (4-1.) The team followed by playing a hard-fought final against Ridgefield using relentless offense and unshakeable defense to achieve a shutout.
Alex Ackerman delivered the game winning goal by skillfully chipping a low angle shot over the goalkeeper into the far corner on the end of a strong counterattack.
The team finished the regular season undefeated 6-0-0 on Saturday, Nov. 9, with a 6-0 win over Newington. They scored a league-leading 22 goals, and only allowed a league low of four goals – tied with Farmington.
The midseason tournament was won on the strength of an undefeated 4-0 record.
Coach Joe Wysocki offered his perspective on the benchmark season: “From a coach’s point-of-view, the team developed well regarding the fundamentals of the pillars of soccer (technical, tactical, physical and psychological) and they executed flawlessly with the two goals we established at the beginning of the season – increasing the “speed of play,” and team fitness – not to be outworked and have the stamina to outlast the competition. The players exceeded every challenge that was posed to them due to their determination, heart, and willingness to work hard for each other. Not too often do you get a team with diverse personalities, skills and backgrounds to quickly blend into a quality team. This was one of them.”
This group is truly enthusiastic about their achievements thus far and are energized to further improve over the winter so they can attempt to continue their successes through the spring 2020 season.
The fall 2019 U-12A girls team roster included: Alexandra Ackerman, Kate Archambeault, Maisie Boucher, Eve Bucznski, Selena Figueroa, Kenna Gallagher, Hannah Glider, Chloe Lynch, Ella Montesi, Reagan Music, Lauren Nyberg, Olivia O’Donnell, Angelina Rotundo, and Lilah Stagg.
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