CEDAR GROVE, NJ – A Cedar Grove student grew up with a passion for soccer and has turned that passion into an impressive high school soccer career. Simone Saletta has already helped his team win two games early in the season and now he has earned himself this week’s Shelby Mobley Allstate’s Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week title.

“I feel honored to be athlete of the week and look forward to a great season with the team,” Saletta said of the honor.

Born in Italy, Saletta developed a love for the game early on and knew it was something he wanted to pursue.

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“Being born in Italy, I’ve always had a passion for the sport and playing it with my friends as a kid taught me to appreciate the beauty of it,” he said. “Now that I live in the states, I love being able to play soccer with my team and represent my high school.”

The Panthers won two games and lost one so far, and Saletta said they are winning the games they are supposed to win and continue to put up their best fight. 

One challenge they face this season is the age of their players and the fact that they are all just starting to play at the varsity level, Saletta said. He himself is only a sophomore.

Although Saletta said he doesn’t believe he has any specific challenges personally, he is always striving to do his best and be a better player. 

“My personal goals for the season are to score at least five goals and exceed last year, where I only scored two,” Saletta said. “This season the team as a whole is looking to win the division and be the first to put a soccer banner on the gym walls.”

So far Saletta is off to a good start. The right midfielder has one goal and one assist, and said the highlight of the season for him after three games came in the game against Newark West Side, a highlight that Coach Mike Konopka agreed with. Konopka praised Saletta for his dedication to the Panthers and his stellar talent.

“He led the way for us when he scored a goal and recorded an assist in our first win of the season over Newark West Side last week,” Konopka said. “Simone is a sophomore and a dedicated player with a strong work ethic and team first attitude.”

The Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley Allstate, 471 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove.