Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 30
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
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SUPER START: Members of the the Princeton Soccer Association’s (PSA) U-14 girls’ team pose after a recent game. The team is making its debut this summer in the highly competitive Super Y League of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) and is off to a 5-4 start. Last weekend, the side advanced to the semifinals of its age group’s championship bracket in the Score at the Shore Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Marissa Edwards, Christine Noe, Kimberly Kornbluth, and Angelina Liddy. In the middle row are Elissabeth Berdini, Alexis Golestani, Kate Kerr, and Veronica Nagle. In the back row are Alexa Kogan, Lily Collins, Alexandra Pero, Brooke Boland, Tess Frelick, and Priscilla Wiggins. Not pictured are Amanda Douglass, Katelyn Becker, Katie Reilly, Erin Sutphen, Jordan Anderson, Haley Schmucker, Lauren Helmlinger, and Hannah Samson.

PSA U-14 Girls’ Team Displaying Skills In Making Fine Debut in Super Y League

Bill Alden

For a lot of kids, the summer is a time to catch a breath and take a break from the rigors of the school year.

But for a group of local girls, this summer will be remembered as a time when they underwent a stern test of their soccer skills.

The Princeton Soccer Association (PSA)’s Under-14 girls’ team is currently taking its first plunge in the highly competitive Super Y League of the United Soccer Leagues (USL).

For PSA executive director and U-14 head coach Michael Poller, the move into the Super Y League makes sense for the program’s more ambitious players.

“The PSA was looking for an opportunity to provide for the more advanced and elite players who want to play in the summer,” said Poller, noting that the PSA is fielding a total of six teams in various divisions of the league.

“These are kids who are already skilled. The league is at the bottom of the pyramid of U.S. pro soccer; this is the amateur rung. The league hires pro and national team scouts to look at the girls. It helps for those who may not have been identified through the ODP (Olympic Development Program).”

The U-14 girls’ side, for its part, has thrived in its debut season in the Super Y, getting off to a 5-4 start in league play.

The team, which is comprised largely of players from the PSA’s U-14 Princeton Crush squad plus six players from the Pennsylvania VE Velocity club, has quickly developed a good chemistry.

“It’s matter of integrating personalities and coaching styles,” said Poller, whose team was competing in the prestigious Score at the Shore Tournament over the weekend in Greensboro, N.C.

“The VE Velocity girls came with a pretty good array of ability. It hasn’t been that difficult to come together; they have hit it off. They all love to play; they love to be around the game. They speak the same language.”

The team boasts talent all over the field. Up front, the team has been led by Princeton Crush star Priscilla Wiggins and two of the Pennsylvania players, Alexandra Pero and Elissabeth Berdini.

“Those three have the majority of our goals,” added Poller, whose team practices two or three times a week at the Greenway Meadows Park and plays its home games at the Farm View Fields.

In the midfield, the squad has been paced by Princeton residents Erin Sutphen and Kathleen Reilly together with Pennsylvania native Angelina Liddy.

Poller has high praise for Reilly, who will be a freshman at Princeton High this fall. “Kathleen is an excellent soccer player,” said Poller. “She has great leadership ability; that is special in a player who is 13 or 14 years old.”

The defense is spearheaded by Veronica Nagle (headed to PHS), Jordan Anderson (Notre Dame), and Marissa Edwards (WW/P-N) with Alexis Golesani (Hun) and Tess Frelick handling the goalkeeping duties.

The team’s abundance of talent has led to a situation where the players are pushing themselves in practice and in games.

“It creates a very competitive atmosphere in practice and in training sessions,” said Poller. “The girls are all competing for places.”

Princeton showed its depth and competitive fire at the Greensboro competition.

“It is a college-level showcase tournament; over 300 college coaches will be there,” said Poller, whose side ended up advancing to the semifinals of its age group’s championship bracket where it fell 1-0 to 93 CASL Spartan Elite of Raleigh, N.C.

“There will be teams from Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Alaska, and Florida.”

In Poller’s view, the U-14 team’s progress this summer should have long-term implications for the PSA.

“It’s a step in the right direction for the club,” asserted Poller, the former head coach of the Hun School girls’ soccer team.

“As an organization, we have always been full service with programs for the casual recreational player who wants to play once a week all they way to people who want to play pro college soccer. We want to attract players outside of Princeton as well as those in town. I think this is part of a building process.”

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