South Orange. On a brilliant October morning, the SOMA FC U15 girls—the South Orange Department of Recreation’s entrant in the Suburban Youth Soccer League—took on the stubborn Bulldogs of Springfield.
The locals have been working assiduously on skills and teamwork for the past 6 weeks—all the while juggling school, activities, and even other sports teams. Their desire to improve paid off mightily with a convincing 3-2 victory against a determined rival.
Zippy Weiss and Schuyler Newman led a re-grouped defense with composure and tenacity. Sidney Davis was a whirlwind on the field, being a presence everywhere, all at once—not only refusing to be beaten on defense, but contributing 2 assists on goals, as well. Speedy striker, Isabelle Do left it all out of the field—creating the chaos that led to SOMA’s first goal—a Springfield “own goal” that bounced off an unfortunate Bulldog.
A major storyline of this game was the emergence of the newest of members of on the field of play. Bailey Withers playing in her first soccer season ever, hit an angled shot from 7 yards that beat the Springfield keeper with conviction. 7 th grader Katie Calhoon, switched out from her regular goalie position to play center forward to give the hometown girls a cushion with a right footed rocket into the back of the net (both goals on assists by Davis).
But without question, the most significant story of the game was that SOMA FC played as a team as never before. Newcomer Jordyn Medrano pushed the ball up the field.
Midfielder, Nicola Suraci, displayed dazzling dribbling skill: beating opponents, creating space, and working the ball up the field to SOMA’s artistic right wing, Leyu Girma. While thwarting Springfield on the outside, first-time defender Bea Lombardi, showed consistency beyond her years. Riley Johnson played defense with a ferocity that throttled Springfield’s offense. Side to side, forward and back the ball passing of SOMA FC truly impressed the fans.
Defender Weiss summed it up best: “Even if we didn’t win, this was the best game we ever played.”