MAHOPAC, N.Y. – At the end of a summer where American women brought home the World Cup trophy to prove once again their soccer dominance, girls across Mahopac are excited and ready to hit the fields for the fall season.

On Sunday, Aug. 25, the Mahopac Soccer Association held a season kickoff celebration of the girls travel soccer program. More than 60 girls came out for an afternoon of fun and competition, including members of the brand new U9 Mahopac Firecrackers, the U10 Storm, U11 Ponytails, U12 Aces and U13 Lightening. About 15 varsity players from Mahopac High School came out to help and participate in the fun.

The event was designed to help the girls get to know girls on other teams, underscoring the importance of building a strong soccer sisterhood. The girls tested their strength and speed in a series of stations, doing planks, crab walks, sprints and shooting drills. They were then split into older and younger groups to scrimmage before enjoying pizza and snacks together as the sun went down on a beautiful afternoon.

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Kathryn DeCicco, of the U11 Mahopac Aces, said she “loved scrimmaging with the other travel teams and getting to know the girls because maybe she will get to play with them on the high school team one day.”

Nora Beltrami of the new Mahopac Firecrackers U9 team said, “I liked having a lot of role models since I am nervous about playing my first season in travel soccer.”

The Mahopac High School varsity players talked to the younger travel players about the rewards of soccer, why it is worth it to push through even when it is hard, and the friendships they have made playing with some of the same girls since kindergarten. Grace Divincenzo talked about times in her soccer career when she may have doubted herself and almost quit, but working through those challenges helped her grow as a person.

Isabel Omboni talked about how soccer is worth it even if sometimes you miss out on parties or trips to the mall with friends. Carly Steinberg, a Mahopac senior who will play soccer at Colgate University, told the girls to remember how much they love the game, even when things get competitive and people aren’t always so nice. Many of the varsity girls played together on the Mahopac Rockets.

Mahopac High School varsity coach Casey Caroll spoke to the younger girls and encouraged them to try out for modified soccer in seventh grade to start building the team that will play together in high school.

The Mahopac Soccer Association is working together with Mahopac Central School District soccer coaches and leaders to build a strong development program turning out strong and agile players to propel Mahopac teams to victory.

Jen Colamonico is secretary of the Mahopac Soccer Association.