Soccer field

Shine brightly on the football field

October 27 – Mothers and fathers everywhere are always looking for ways for their sons and daughters to engage in something positive, be it an educational or athletic opportunity.

So count the parents of Stanley Strycharz and Maggie Vasington, Chronicle picks as our Athletes of the Week, as happy campers given the choices their children have made over the years.

Stanley is a second success with his Coventry High soccer team as the booming Patriots have won six of their last seven games en route to a 10-4 overall record this fall.

And Maggie has been a dominant force while anchoring the back line of her EO Smith football team for the past three seasons, with the elder being one of the main reasons the Panthers are running a 9-game unbeaten streak ( 6-0-3) en route to a sparkling 9-1-3 register so far this season.

But let’s take a look back at the levers of the time machine and find out what helped Stanley and Maggie succeed on the football field today.

“Stanley made soccer his first choice much earlier than most kids,” said Paul Strycharz, Stanley’s father, who is also the head coach of Coventry. “I would say that at the age of eight, Stanley put baseball and basketball aside and wanted to attend every soccer camp or clinic he could.

“Even at 8, he could hit a ball with a good rhythm.

And Stanley picked up the pace as he continued to devote more and more hours to developing his soaring football skills.

“I started playing in the Elmo soccer program in town when I was about three years old,” recalls Stanley. “And around the age of 7 or 8, I really enjoyed football, starting to really understand the game.

“I found myself watching the Premier League on TV, attending UConn matches and camps and joined the CFC football program. “

Vasington’s parents were looking for an outlet for their active daughter to burn off some energy and football turned out to be the perfect choice.

“My parents first signed me up for soccer when I was four, just to let me drain my energy,” recalls Maggie. “As I got older I fell in love with the speed and competitiveness of the sport.

“My passion for soccer followed me to EO Smith and my love extended from the game to my teammates and the culture of high school soccer.”

You could call EO Smith coach Gui Estes a happy camper when Vasington barged onto the scene in Storrs as a freshman force for their Panthers.

“Freshman Maggie was a swing player for us early on until she turned into a full-time college midway through the season because of her impact on the team,” recalled Estes, including the Panthers. outscored their opponents by a 30-4 margin during their unbeaten run.

“Maggie was making up quite a bit of playing time for us throughout her freshman campaign because of her great energy, work ethic on the pitch and ability to disrupt the game.”

Vasington’s ability to disrupt play marked her as the organizer of EO Smith on the backline.

“Maggie is a dominant force on the back line,” Estes continued. “She’s been my starting center-back for the past three years and she has an exceptional eye for the game and can read plays very well.

“As a result, she disrupts the offensive flow of our opponents. Her strength is her speed and work ethic on the pitch. She is a great communicator and she encourages her teammates.”

Maggie has always maintained that the relationships she shares with coaches and teammates are just as important as the stats and numbers on the scoreboard.

“From my four years of college play, I have learned that winning is not the most important thing but rather supporting your teammates and stepping up where necessary,” said Vasington, who scored a goal and had an assist all over. joining the attack and dotting the opponent’s net with seven shots this season.

“I think those two things have been my strongest assets during my years at EO Smith.

“I have been a strong player in the team since I was in first year and, with the guidance and guidance from my great coaches, I have become more confident with the ball at my feet and I am using that to my advantage. in the field.”

“I hope my strengths on and off the football field will follow me to college as I plan to pursue a future playing football with my academics,” Vasington added.

Equally bright is Stanley Strycharz’s future due to a similar approach to football.

“I think one of Stanley’s best qualities is his enthusiasm for the success of his teammates,” said coach Strycharz.

“Stanley is not, and never has been, all about himself.

“His teammates and friends have always been a priority in his life.

Finding the back of the net has sparked more than a few celebrations between Stanley and his teammates this season.

The 5-11, 152-pounder scored 10 goals in 14 games while preparing his teammates with six assists as the Patriots quickly improved after a 4-3 start to the season.

“Shooting, changing the point of attack and holding the ball,” Stanley replied when asked to list his strengths.

“During games, Stanley goes from being a natural winger in midfield to being a forward,” said coach Strycharz. “Stanley’s ability to hit a ball allows him to shoot from anywhere in the final third.”

And Coventry’s final third of the season looks destined to produce even more success due to the deft way Strycharz’s men deal with their dual responsibilities of coach and player, father and son.

“Coaching your son or daughter is not always easy, but having a front row seat and being able to share a great time with them is worth it,” said coach Strycharz.

“Being the coach’s son is sometimes not easy, but Stanley won it all on his own.

“When I’m on the soccer field I don’t call him daddy… he’s always a coach,” said Stanley, who has scored three goals in Coventry’s last two games. “I try to be the player present at every training, race and event organized for my team.

“Also, my role is to be the hardest working player on the team because I never want to be criticized or labeled as ‘the coach’s son’.”

We can label Stanley Strycharz and Maggie Vasington, however, with an adjective that both wear comfortably.

This word? Success, with the promise of an even brighter future. … Mike Sypher is the sports editor of The Chronicle.