WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - Wood-Ridge’s Victoria Drotos competed in the Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge which was hosted locally by Saint Anthony Council #11585 for the first time. Not only did she win her age bracket, but moved on to the district, sectional and regional events, eventually winning the State title.
“I wanted to enter the shootout because I like competition and I wanted to see how I would compete against players my age,” said the Wood-Ridge High School sophomore.
The Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge is a competition designed for players to demonstrate the most basic soccer skill – the penalty kick. Participants compete in their own age group by gender and given 15 penalty kicks at a goal with 5 scoring zones. Points are awarded based on the scoring zone through which the ball passes.
“I have always practiced taking penalties in my yard which I believed helped me in the competition,” said Drotos.
“It felt good to advance and win because it showed that all the practice over the years paid off. It was a nice feeling that of all the people I competed against, I came out on top of all of them.”
In the state finals, Drotos competed against winners representing the other Archdioceses in New Jersey, Camden, Metuchen, Paterson, and Trenton. She represented the Newark Archdiocese.
Drotos feels the competition assisted her high school skills.
“I was able to take my time and carefully place my shots,” she said. “I am more confident and will be better prepared to do this when my coach calls on me to do this in a game. This competition has made me more comfortable.”
“It became more difficult as I progressed because the upper corner targets became smaller,” she explained. “I felt that I was prepared from all the years of training that Coach Jerry gave me.”
Coach Jerry is Jerry Cala, the head coach of the Wood-Ridge girls soccer team.
“I was excited that Victoria had an interest in entering this competition,” said Cala “It is another example of her demonstrating her desire to improve as a soccer player.”
“Victoria is a very skilled and technical player,” he said. “I was not surprised that she advanced and ultimately won.”
“Throughout last season, in training, Victoria has improved greatly as a dead ball specialist,” Cala continued. “ Her PK’s and free kicks have become very clinical with pinpoint accuracy. I am very proud of her for what she has accomplished in her soccer career. By winning this competition, Victoria has shown that she is willing to improve and work hard on her own. This serves as a great example to everyone else in our program.”
“On behalf of the St Anthony Knights 11585 of Wood-Ridge, we are very proud of Victoria and everyone who participated in our first soccer challenge,” said John Milne, Grand Knight. “We want to thank her for representing us.”
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