WESTFIELD, NJ — The 17-year-old Westfield High School senior has been quietly leading the girls varsity soccer team with some game-winning goals.
An attacking midfielder, Riley Ciarletta has been helping to set the bar for the team. Ciarletta is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week.
“It’s important for me to set a good example for the underclassmen,” said Ciarletta, who has been playing soccer since she was 3. “I know the underclassmen look up to me not only as a person but as a player. I’m not the loudest one of the field or the most serious, but I think I lead when I play.”
Many of the girls Ciarletta grew up playing with on the Westfield Soccer Association’s Blue Samurais she is still playing with now at the varsity level.
“It is really cool to play with these same group of girls for my senior year,” Ciarletta said. “Our seniors this year are really close, and I think we all set a great example for the generations to come. It’s really special to see us grow as a team.”
Head coach Alexander Schmidt noted that Ciarletta scored two game winning goals this year, one in a game against Livingston Sept. 21 and another against Kearny Oct. 5.
“She plays attacking midfielder for us and has the touch and vision that any attacking midfielder should have, but plays hard nose defense that rivals some of our best defenders on the team,” Schmidt said. “As a senior, she’s leading a very young group of strikers and brings a calming sense to the game when she is in.”
Schmidt said that Riley has grown both within the soccer program and off the field. “It has been a pleasure having the opportunity to coach her,” he added.
Ciarletta also plays club soccer for NJ Elite and tutors underprivileged children in Plainfield, in addition to being a part of the Westfield High School Lunch Buddies, a club that seeks to break down social barriers during the midday meal.
The Lady Blue Devils next play Scotch Plains-Fanwood at home Thursday afternoon.
“The underclassman bring us great energy, and I enjoy playing with all of them. I especially love playing with Alyssa Martinez and Ellie Sherman,” Ciarletta said, referring to the freshman and sophomore. “I think that they are great players, and I love seeing them grow as the year goes on. I look forward to leading the underclassman this year, and can’t wait to see how this season plays out.”
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh
The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Located 502 East Broad St., the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 19 years. Call them at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote this week and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com.