By Ryan Kaczmarski
You could almost view these girls growing up before your eyes by going through back-issues of the West Life News. Every year since 2009, we have run a picture of the team and a story of its remarkable accomplishments.
This year will be no different. This year the Fairview Park Soccer Association’s U-11 girls team is celebrating its four-time Northern Ohio Girls Soccer League championship and four-time undefeated season.
This fall, the team had a record of 7-0-1, making it the fourth season in a row without a loss.
The team is comprised of Colette Karliak, Madison Melzer, Rachel Coyne, Meghan Weir, Erin Ashdown, Maddie Krueger, Anne Yantek, Emily Von Pless, Emily Lutsock, Molly Weir, Bella DeCicco, Claire Horansky, Madelyn Bochenek and Emma Szoradi.
The head coach of the team is Dean DeCicco and by his own admission, he is not exactly a soccer guru.
“I never played a day of soccer in my life,” DeCicco said. “But I do know how to coach, and it’s really the girls who come through (with the accomplishment).”
The fact that these girls have played together for so many years now, has contributed to their success.
“They have great team unity,” DeCicco said. “It’s not that the competition isn’t there, we play in a really tough bracket.”
The team is comprised of fifth-graders and one fourth-grader. They, for the most part, are projected to be the Fairview High School class of 2019.
“They are amazing girls,” said Fairview High School girls varsity head coach Scott Underwood, who runs a weekly footskills camp with all of the travel teams in the spring and fall. “Dean has done an awesome job of balancing his club players with his travel players, as well as balancing the competition, fun and excitement that youth sports can provide.
“The girls show up early, utilize the basics I teach them to prepare for their training and work very hard to make themselves better with each touch on the ball,” Underwood added.
There are four girls that play club-soccer on the team, which is one step above travel-soccer and two steps above recreation-soccer.
The girls have played together for so long, they seem to be able to anticipate what their teammate is going to do on the field.
“Between the girls playing together, and knowing each other’s moves, they have learned through consistency of coaching and the familiarity of each other,” DeCicco said.
The team played U-11 last year when they were only 10 year olds, because the roster limits go up in the higher brackets and Coach DeCicco did not want to cut anyone from the team.
DeCicco tries to keep things fun for the girls, and not “all business, all the time.”
“The three aspects of our team motto has been put into our team cheer,” DeCicco said. “What is soccer? We say, ‘fun’. How do we play? We say, ‘with energy’. What do we have? We say, ‘excitement.’”
“As the Fairview girls high school coach, of course, I am eager to see these girls get to high school,” Underwood said. “I can only imagine, if they keep working as hard and growing up as rapidly as they are now, how spectacular they will be in high school. I can tell you they are certainly a team to watch.”