A team beats with one heart

SOUTH CENTRAL PREMIER – BREAKERS U12 girls’ soccer team was on a losing streak until Rick Koczak took over as Head Coach. The SCP Breakers then moved forward to claim the 2006-TWIST Wallingford Invitational Championship, 2006/7-Connecticut State Cup Championship, 2007-TWIST Wallingford Invitational Quarter-Finalists, 2008-MAPPS Semi-Finalists, 2008-Jefferson Cup Finalists, 2008-Region-1 Summer League Championship.

Koczak began coaching the girls U-12 team with loads of enthusiasm and a vision knowing that each of the young players held the talent to become something great; individually and, as a team. With a style that affirms “A TEAM BEATS WITH ONE HEART”, Koczak would communicate his constructive critiques of games and practice sessions through a barrage of emails that had been dubbed as: “Rick-o-grams”.

It can’t be easy coaching 17 teenage girls but Koczak seems to have the knack of seeing the gifts in each of the players and allowing them to shine in their own light. The Breakers with its original 12 players added 5 new players in the last few years creating a very effective and dynamic team of talent.

SCP U15 Breakers is a team that plays as one, with HEART; and they demonstrated this when they traveled to Florida in December 2008 to compete in the eighth annual Orange Classic International Girls Soccer Tournament.

The Orange Classic competition is played in Weston and Plantation, Florida sprawling over 4 large recreational parks. Formerly called the Junior Orange Bowl Soccer Tournament began in 1980 with 16 teams and has grown to over 380 teams in 2007 attracting approximately 300 coaches from Div. I, II, III and NAIA schools. The tournament would not be an easy challenge for SCP Breakers; top teams from 27 states, as well as teams from Holland and Canada were selected for this college showcase.

The first match against SPA Nirvana Fury of New York proved to be a tough beginning. Although the weather was not particularly hot it was windy causing difficulty in ball handling but the Breakers came out ahead with a 1-0 win. Team Boca of Florida, in the 2nd match, played a strong game but SCP Breakers won 2-0. Beach FC Piranhas from Virginia lost to the Breakers 3-0. The familiar rivals; Yankee United FC Stars of Connecticut also lost to the SCP Breakers; 1-0 in the Semi-finals.

In the Finals – U-15 SCP Breakers battled Team Boca 93/94 White, for the second time with both teams fighting hard in the hot afternoon sun. It’s tough to beat the same team twice and; wouldn’t a team from the north be at a disadvantage in the heat fighting against the Florida natives for the title? The Breakers played strong and with fortitude against last year’s Orange Classic Champions. Each team held tight during the second half with 1-1 score that ended in penalty kicks. The SCP Breakers planted the last goal winning the final game 2-1 and giving them five consecutive wins.

SCP Breakers beat some of the best and took the Championship title home. This was an impressive accomplishment for the SCP Breakers G-U15.

Coach’s Comments:

“I thought the girls played a great tournament.  I was very proud of the way they performed. They competed against some great competition from NY, CT, VA, and FL. In the Finals vs. Team Boca we showed a ton of composure, especially at the end during penalty kicks. Ariana Ruggiero was a key aspect for our success of the tournament. She created so many opportunities for us and at the end she stepped up and buried the last penalty kick to give South Central the gold. This South Central U15 team shows a ton of character and thrives when the pressure is on.  I am very proud to be the coach for this team.”

Rick Koczak

Front Row: Nicole Gildersleeve Ariana Ruggiero, Samantha Tabak, Lilly Creighton, Kelsey Thomas, Issy Verrilli

Back Row: Coach Rick Koczak, Leah Suto, Shelby Halasz, Danica Foglio, Jessica Broadbent, Tori Gilliland, Meagan Simon, Kelsey McQuaid, Rebecca Smith, Assist. Coach John Gildersleeve

Not pictured: Alexandra Farley, Stephanie Klebart , Taylor Rotella

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