July 27, 2016

Competing in National Playoffs with Club Team, PHS Girls’ Soccer Star Marciano Honed Her Skills


MAJOR DEVELOPMENT: Colette Marciano boots the ball in action for Players Development Academy (PDA) Splash U15 squad. Marciano, a rising junior at Princeton High, starred in the midfield as the Splash competed in the Elite Clubs National League Playoffs last month in San Diego. 

For Colette Marciano, spending a weekend in San Diego in late June should make her a more skilled performer when she starts preseason training next month for her junior campaign on the Princeton High girls’ soccer team.

Marciano headed west with the Players Development Academy (PDA) Splash U15 squad as it competed in the Elite Clubs National League Playoffs.

Although the Splash ended up going 1-2 in pool play to get eliminated from the national competition at that stage, Marciano gained a lot from the experience.

“I think it elevated my game; we played some of the best girls in the country and some of the best teams in the country so I think,” said Marciano, a midfielder. “When you play against better players, you become better.”

Marciano started playing soccer at eight years old and it didn’t take long for her to develop a passion for the game.

“I picked up on it very quickly,” said Marciano. “The love for it just started to grow as I continued on.”

Influenced by former Princeton University women’s soccer coach Julie Shackford and her daughter Kayleigh, Marciano decided the best way to grow as a player was to join the PDA program.

“I had played a lot with Kayleigh,” recalled Marciano. “As Kayleigh tried out for PDA, I went along with her. I started at PDA when I was 11.”

Staying with PDA since then, Marciano has gained a deeper understanding of the sport. “I learned the fundamentals of soccer and worked on my technical ability,” said Marciano.

“That led me to be able to play the possession style of soccer that PDA teaches and ingrains into their players.”

Becoming a member of the PDA’s Splash team last year, Marciano sensed that the squad could do some special things.

“Jeremy Beardsley (former Montgomery High girls’ soccer coach) just came on last year,” said Marciano.

“He completely changed the dynamic and character of the team; I think that really helped with our success.”

The Splash enjoyed a lot of success in the 2015-16 regular season, going 11-0-5 to book its spot in the national playoffs.

“We turned out to be the Northeast Conference champions so that is how we got to San Diego,” said Marciano. “It was incredible; it was what we worked for the whole season.”

As a holding midfielder, Marciano performs yeoman’s work for the team.

“I sit in front of the center backs and behind the two attacking mids,” explained Marciano.

“I am kind of like the eyes of the field and I switch the ball from one side to the other and get us out of tricky situations.”

The Splash ran into some high pressure situations in San Diego, defeating the Crossfire Premier (Wash.) 3-0 in its opening game before losing 1-0 to CASL (N.C.) and 2-0 to the Slammers FC (Calif.).

“That was a really good game,” said Marciano, reflecting on the opener. “We played well in the second game. We kept most of the possession; it was just one of those unlucky times where they happened to get an opportunity and finished it. We played the Slammers in the last game, they were the reigning national champion and they ultimately won again this year so we’re knocked out by the champs.”

Since returning from San Diego, Marciano has been putting in additional time honing her skills, working with former Princeton star and assistant coach Esmeralda Negron at the
Champions League Soccer Academy.

“We work on the technical pieces of the game, passing, touches and stuff,” said Marciano. “She has really elevated my game over the past two or three years.”

With PHS starting preseason practice in mid-August, Marciano is looking forward to utilizing her technical prowess.

“I think the seasons I have played in high school have brought a different element to my game,” said Marciano.

“At PDA, it is more about keeping possession and passing. In high school, it is more of a dribbling game. I take more touches on the ball. I think it helps me get more of an attacking mentality. I am more comfortable on the ball because I have it more in high school.”

Having put so much into soccer over the years, Marciano is hoping to keep playing after high school.

“Fortunately since I play at this level I have had lots of opportunities to be seen by the colleges I have always dreamed of going to,” said Marciano. “I am looking to go to a academically challenging school.”