Varsity Girls’ Soccer Fakes Left, Scores Right


Benjamin Athletics

The girls’ varsity soccer team celebrates its district championship.

While in the midst of the winter sports season, the girls’ varsity soccer team has done astonishingly well being undefeated at 5-0, as of Dec. 4.

Senior Reagan Rodriguez, who has been playing soccer for the past 16 years, began her soccer career in awe of her older sister. She is committed to play Division II Women’s Soccer at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg on the west coast of Florida.

Being a captain this year, Rodriguez is most excited to bring together a new group of girls as there are eight new players, including three eighth-graders. “We have already started to come together, and I am looking forward to playing this season with everyone, and hopefully making it as far as we can in the postseason”, she said.

Outside of school, Reagan practices four times a week with the Palm Beach Gardens Predators and goes to the gym to incorporate weight training into her schedule.

Speaking about her coaches Hillary Carney and Melissa Vitagliano, she said “I could not have asked for better coaches. Coach Hillary and Melissa are definitely some of my favorite coaches, and they make everything so enjoyable, even when we have to run.”

The coaches focus on technical and possession drills early in the season to try to help the players learn each other’s style of play and incorporate team bonding.

“Soccer is my passion and definitely the first thing I tell people when they ask what I do. I couldn’t picture myself not playing soccer in college, especially since it has been a dream of mine ever since I stepped on the field. My love for the sport has never faded and that is what prompted me to keep going”, Rodriguez said.

Freshman Sam Woods has been on the varsity team since her eighth-grade year but has played soccer for 11 years.

Woods is hoping that the team wins Regionals and maybe even farther. On the field, Woods says “I mainly think about what my role is on the field and where I should be running to receive the ball, but once in a while I have a song stuck in my head.”

With her future in mind, Woods is hoping to play soccer at the collegiate level at a school that has four seasons and a good science department.

“The team is filled with really nice people and they make playing for the school a lot of fun. There is a very good environment and chemistry in our team that I am very grateful to be a part of,” Woods said.

Freshman Vanessa Zito, who has been playing travel soccer since she was age seven, is most looking forward to games against Oxbridge Academy and American Heritage.

“When playing during the game, I am always very focused and want to do the best that I can,” Zito said.

The coaches help Zito and the team with formation and understanding the play of the field.

Head Coach Hillary Carney likes for her players to be more possessive in the game. She tries to incorporate workouts during the season and off. “I do have off season and recovery workouts for my teams, especially after having coached in college, you realize the importance of the recovery days as a team”, she said.

Senior Logan McGruder and goalie has been playing soccer since she was five. As her parents placed her in sports and activities when she was younger, she grew fond of the game of soccer as she grew up.

McGruder has a lot of experience with soccer as she trains more than five times a week with various coaches and institutions ranging from the Benjamin School to Miami, and New Jersey.

She said, “The experience has been amazing and it allows me to learn the aspects of being a goal-keeper more in depth”.

She is most excited for this soccer season because of the group of girls she believes will continue to evolve and develop in the following years.

During practices, the team works on passing lines and foot drills that will evolve into game-like drills and shooting.

The team is looking forward to their rival games against Oxbridge Academy and Cardinal Newman in the coming weeks.