Commerford Makes Huge Contributions to Cougars’ Resurgence
Junior Hadley Commerford helped the H-K girls’ soccer squad capture its second-consecutive Shoreline Conference title with her excellent play at the outside midfielder position this fall. (Photo courtesy of Hadley Commerford )
The Haddam-Killingworth girls’ soccer team enjoyed another memorable season by winning its second-straight Shoreline Conference championship in 2020. One of the primary seasons behind the Cougars’ success was the performance of junior outside midfielder Hadley Commerford.
Hadley grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, where she began playing soccer at the age of three. Hadley moved to Connecticut when she was 12 and continued with the sport in Killingworth once she arrived.
“I started playing soccer when I was three, so it’s been a huge part of my life,” says Hadley. “My parents signed me up because I loved kicking a ball around in the yard, and, ever since then, soccer has brought me so much joy and a family of teammates I can always count on.”
The H-K girls’ soccer squad went through some struggles during Hadley’s freshman season. Hadley says that it’s been a rewarding experience to help turn the program around and contribute to H-K’s ascent into a championship-caliber program during the past two seasons.
“There’s a lot of things I love about playing soccer. I love looking forward to my practices and games and the supportive group of girls on the team,” Hadley says. “But the most exciting thing is being part of a team that did not have a winning record my freshman year to winning back-to-back Shoreline championships the next two years.”
Head Coach Mike Shea knows just how valuable Hadley has been to his team’s recent resurgence. Shea says that Hadley brings tremendous leadership skills to the Cougars, and that’s why he named her a team captain for the 2021 season.
“Hadley is midfielder who has been a valuable player for our program over the past couple years,” says Shea. “She has great technical skills. She has played in a demanding role. She provides defensive cover and tracks back to repossess the ball, as well as provide quality crosses for our forwards.”
Hadley and Coach Shea have formed a great relationship throughout her time with the program. Hadley appreciates that she can go to Shea with any problem, whether it’s on or off the field.
“My relationship with Coach Shea is great. There’s an open-door policy between him and our team, and I think that’s really important, because it ensures good communication,” Hadley says. “I know that I can approach him at any time, and he will respect what I have to say. He always maintains his cool and calmness and finds ways to motivate and support us.”
Hadley will always have fond memories of how the Cougars defended their Shoreline Conference title by earning a 3-2 victory over Old Lyme in the league tournament final this fall. With the win, H-K avenged a 2-1 loss to the Wildcats in the regular season and put a bow on year that saw the squad notch a record of 9-2-1.
“My favorite moment from this season was definitely winning the Shoreline Conference Championship for the second year in a row,” says Hadley, who scored two goals this season. “I feel so lucky that I’ve been a part of that for the past two seasons, especially because last year was the first year our girls’ soccer team won that title.”
Aside from soccer, Hadley also competes for the girls’ indoor and outdoor track teams at H-K. A sprinter, Hadley’s main events are the 200, the 400, the 4x200 relay, and the 4x400 relay. In her free time, Hadley enjoys skiing throughout the New England region.
As she looks toward her senior season, Hadley already has her sights set on helping H-K achieve the Shoreline three-peat. In the meantime, Hadley plans on putting in plenty of offseason effort in order to maximize her potential on the pitch.
“In soccer, there is both an individual and team component to success. I’m always working to improve my foot skills and endurance, but also for areas where I can best help my team,” Hadley says. “I’m really looking forward to my last season with this amazing group of girls. I’m excited for the opportunity to captain our team and pursue our third-consecutive championship.”