It is amazing how dramatically 4 players can alter any team. This was just the case for the Floral Park Rovers in 2016.
The start of the 2016 Fall season was, as usual, a tough one for the Rovers. They had lost two of their original players and longtime friends, Hannah, and Lauren because of new age restrictions set up by LIJSL.
At the tryouts, the Rovers would need to draft 4 rookies to compensate for losing those two players as well as moving up to more players on the field.
But no one could foresee how this rookie class would change the landscape of this team for years to come.
The Rovers would add Kayla A., Bridget M., Samantha M, and Bridget P. to their 2016 roster. These were four good athletes, most of which never played soccer.
The Fall season was a learning experience and a feeling out period for the entire team making sure these rookies fit the team dynamic. While we didn’t win any games in the Fall, the team seemed to gel and began bonding.
The Rovers first Lehigh Tournament would be the next milestone. The team tied 2 and lost 2, a great accomplishment for the group. Two of the most important “Rovers Things” came from this tournament. First was the way this team bonded and became one. The second would be the legendary Rovers chant that continues to this day to strike fear into their opponents!
Winter practices started and the rookies were beginning to improve quickly. The winter league at Hofstra began and that’s where a single goal by Rookie Bridget M. would change everything. With that goal, the Rovers got their first win of 2016 and set in motion an unbelievable run.
As the winter went on, all four rookies were now starters. Their energy was inspiring and driving the team. The Rovers would lose in the playoffs against Albertson in a shootout that saw 12 shooters! But that was only the beginning.
The Spring season would start with a win in the first LI Cup game. The girls were pumped and I as their coach was so happy for them. The Rookies continued to shine and push this team. After two more Cup game wins, the atmosphere around this team was intoxicating. There was a perfect mix of a Veteran core, 3rd year players, and Rookies. But they all had a heartbeat of one.
The Rovers would win the fourth cup game in a shootout. And in the shootout, Bridget P. would hit the crossbar!
The Rovers would lose in the CUP Final 3-2. Our rookies were nervous but were up to the task. Our Veterans would lead them with amazing goaltending and two great goals in our effort.
It was an amazing inaugural year for those 4, and it really captured and gave direction as to what this team was all about.
Fast forward to today, 2018.
Kayla (striker) won the scoring title for the team in 2017 and starts for the Rovers Elite Gold Tournament Team.
Bridget M. (left midfield) was the Rookie of the Year in 2016, is a starter for the Rovers Elite Gold Tournament Team and also plays for the Rough Riders Winter Select Team.
Samantha (center back) has had the toughest assignment playing at the Center Back position, won the Most Improved Award in 2016, and is a starter on the Rovers Elite Gold Tournament Team.
Bridget P. (defending midfielder) was named Rovers Team Captain, led the team to its first ever 3rd place finish and is a starter for the Rovers Elite Gold Tournament Team.
I am so proud of these girls and what they have accomplished in such a short amount of time and I am so thankful to be their coach.
For four girls who have never really played soccer before, they have shown that with hard work, perseverance, and passion for what you do, you can accomplish great things.
– Coach Frank