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Senior Katie Chieffo recovered from an early season injury to help the North Haven girls’ soccer squad reach the Class L State Tournament this fall. (Photo courtesy of Katie Chieffo )
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Soccer is an important sport for North Haven senior Katie Chieffo and her family. Katie plays soccer, her brothers played the sport, and her father Reid is head coach of the Indians’ boys’ soccer team. Katie has used what she’s learned from her family throughout the years to make an impact as a member of the girls’ soccer squad at North Haven.
“My dad has always been a coach, so I’ve always grown up around soccer,” Katie says. “It’s definitely challenging [having your dad be a coach], but I think it’s made things easier for me. He understands a lot of where I’m coming from, so he’s able to give me advice.”
Katie got out to a rocky start in her senior season with the Indians this fall. Katie suffered an injury early in the year, forcing her to miss about half the campaign.
“Because I’m a captain, I didn’t like missing practices and games. It’s hard to sit on the sidelines watching everyone else play,” says Katie. “I wanted to be a part of the action, but I couldn’t.”
While it was difficult for her to miss time, Katie made the most of her senior year when she returned to the field. Katie helped North Haven go 4-1-3 down the stretch to qualify for the Class L State Tournament.
“The beginning of the season was rough, because I wasn’t playing. It was hard to watch us not do so well,” Katie says. “It was nice to get back and be able to help the other girls pick things up. We started winning, and from there the season went uphill.”
Katie led the Indians while serving as one of the team’s senior captains. Head Coach Gary Collins says it was great for North Haven to have Katie on the field throughout the last half of the year.
“It was very important, because we needed all hands on deck. Katie understood the roles that were required to get to that point, and she was one of those players to maintain that consistency,” says Collins. “When Katie came back, she brought in a different attitude to do well and finish the season. She did really well in the second half of the season when we needed it most. Her work ethic was impressive when she came back. She worked hard to get her game back to play at a high level.”
At the end of the season, Collins presented Katie with the Coach’s Award for her hard work and commitment to the Indians. One of the ways that Katie displayed her dedication was by transitioning from center midfield to the outside midfielder position this year.
“It’s not my first time playing outside mid, but it was my first time playing there for the high school team, so it was an adjustment,” says Katie. “I’m definitely more of a dynamic player on the outside. Not so much toughness, but dynamic skill is definitely my strong suit.”
While she settled in nicely to her spot on the outside, Katie also enjoyed leading North Haven in her role as a captain. Katie tried to do everything she could to set a good example for the Indians’ underclass athletes.
“I was very excited to be in that role. It doesn’t only mean you’re a leader on the field, but off the field and in school, too,” Katie says. “I felt we all were able to teach them and set a nice example for what they should become. I loved being a captain, and I learned a lot about how to communicate.”
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