By Connor Beach
A Smithtown-based club soccer team with six players from around the Town of Huntington won last week the U.S. Club Soccer National Premier League finals in Aurora, Colorado.
The team is part of SUSA FC soccer training academy and competes in the girls National Premier League 2003 division. The team is made up of 18 raising sophomores from across Nassau and Suffolk Counties who compete together.
Jordyn Levy, of Half Hollow Hills High School West; Abilgail Mensese, of Commack High School; Amanda Rooney, also of Hills West; Taylor Sammis, of Harborfields High School; Athina Sofroniov, of Half Hollow Hills High School East; and Lindsay Zolga, of St. Anthony’s High School; are the six players who represented Huntington’s local high school on the national championship winning side.
SUSA president and head coach of the girls 2003 NPL team Moussa Sy said SUSA is the largest soccer club on Long Island, and that the NPL division represents the top platform that the club played at over the last year.
“When we hold our tryouts, we attract top players from all over Nassau and Suffolk,” Sy said.
Sy said this particular group of girls has been one of the top teams in the country since they began playing together at the under-12 level.
The team previously reached the national championship in 2017, but lost in the finals. Sy said the experience provided motivation throughout this season.
“As soon as we got back to Long Island, their first words to me were that they wanted to get back there again,” Sy said.
The team began training for another chance at the national title last August, and that training continued twice a week during the winter and three time a week plus games in the spring.
“With the academy structure that we have in place, we train 10 months out of 12,” Sy said.
After qualifying for the national championship in Colorado, Sy said his players researched the effects of altitude on endurance and took it upon themselves to train using altitude masks.
“So going into Colorado we were ready,” Sy said.
The SUSA team advanced undefeated through the group and knockout stages of the competition, tallying 23 goals while only allowing four during their five games. The team secured their triumph over the field of 16 teams from across the country when they defeated Delaware FC 3-1 in the championship game on July 16.
Sy praised the efforts of his captains Levy and Sofroniov throughout the season and during the championship tournament. Levy also achieved the title of top goal scorer in her age group.
Sy said one of the goals of the SUSA academy is to prepare players to continue their soccer career at the collegiate level.
“For these girls that’s really the next step,” Sy said. “They invest the time, they know what they’re in for and they want to take the game to the next level.”