By Kathie Donohue and Jane Sears
Dec. 7, 2016: It was a perfect day for girls' soccer on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as players started to arrive to Hayes Field. However, this was not an ordinary game. Many of the players had not met, yet alone played with, some of their teammates before. Many had not even played soccer in years. This was a game that had been talked about for years, and it was fitting that it was finally able to happen on the heels of another successful varsity soccer season that included head coach Don Cupertino's ("Coop") 400th Bronxville win. No, this was not an ordinary game – this was the First Annual Bronxville Girls' Varsity Soccer Alumnae Game.
Approximately 30 alumnae players were able to make the game, spanning the years from a 1992 graduate (Brenda Curtis, who played in Coop's very first Bronxville win), to some of our most recent alums from the 2016 season. There were players who are currently or have recently been playing college ball and/or in women's leagues, to players who haven't been on the pitch since high school. There were even three sets of sisters--the Cupertinos, the Donohues, and the Warbles. To avoid any perception of favoritism, "teams" were selected by drawing names out of hat. The opposing teams proudly wore Bronxville soccer alumnae t-shirts in the Bronco colors--blue and gray.
The game consisted of four 20-minute quarters and was a hard-fought battle as respective goalkeepers, Grace Devlin and Charley Warble, saved multiple great shots. Kristine Cupertino finally found the back of the net with the lone goal of the game, avoiding a penalty kick (PK) tie-breaker, which, per Coop, would require every player to take a PK. While both sides were intense in their play as well as their desire to score and win, throughout the game you could see many smiles on the faces of the players on the field. They were playing the game they love. "Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back. . . . Play for her." Mia Hamm, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup winner.
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend was a perfect time for the alumnae game, as it also served as a reminder to so many who are so thankful for all that Coop and his wife, Eileen, have done for so many girls through the years. Whether they were able to make it to the game or not, the girls who played in the varsity soccer program, whether they were able to play in this game or not, are part of a very special family and share a very special bond--they are part of the Bronxville girls' varsity soccer program--a program that's always been so much more than just soccer . . . it's a family.
To see photos, click here.
Note from Kathie & Jane: Thank you to all who were so helpful in reaching out, spreading the word, and providing player contacts. Please continue to help us build our network of alumnae by passing on any new contact information you might come across. Many thanks also to Karen Peterson for her support of the Bronxville girls' soccer program and for her logistical help to make this first-ever alumnae soccer game happen. Thank you to all who participated and to those who cheered our ladies on. We will see you next year. Mark your calendars for the Second Annual Bronxville Girls' Varsity Soccer Alumnae Game on November 25, 2017.
Pictured here: Top row: Meredith Sanborn (Gray) (’97), Christie Bonfiglio (’10), Liz Jones (’08); Ashley Gietl (’12), Taylor Reynolds (’12), Meredith Donovan (’14), Taylor Sears (’16), “Coop”, Charley Warble (’15), Mason Warble (’17), Clare MacMillen-Bell (’13), Jess Tarangioli (’12), Maggie Pyle (’10), Grace Devlin (’12), Michaela Donohue (’11), Shannon Crawford (’12), and Grace O’Toole (’14). Bottom Row: Brenda Curtis (’92), Erica Mann (Armstrong) (’95); Fallon Raviol (’16), Killian Donohue (’15), Lucy Whitney (’15), Caitlin Fryer (’15), Lucy Kohlhoff (’15), Natalie Kister (’17), Kristine Cupertino (’03), and Katie Cupertino (’00). Not in picture: Jillian Rohr (’15) and Katie Toal (’15). Photos by Kathie Donohue