Sports Person of the Week
Fresher Succeeds in All Arenas
Carly Fresher is looking forward to leading the North Haven girls’ soccer team as a senior captain this fall. Carly was also named a captain for the North Haven girls’ basketball squad. (Photo courtesy of Carly Fresher )
Carly Fresher is a starter and captain for the North Haven High School girls’ soccer and basketball squads. She was also recently named this year’s valedictorian with her weighted grade-point average of 4.8. While maintaining such a high level of athletic and academic success can be overwhelming for anyone, Carly wouldn’t have it any other way.
Carly started playing soccer in North Haven’s rec league when she was four. After watching her sisters Claire and Kelly play the sport, Carly knew that she had to join them on the pitch.
“In all aspects of my life, my sisters are my role models. When I saw them playing, as a younger sister, I wanted to also be involved,” says Carly. “Once I started playing, I fell in love with the sport. As a little kid, it was really exciting to play with my friends, running around and getting my energy out.”
After completing her eligibility in North Haven’s rec league, Carly started playing travel soccer and competing at the Premier level. She has played for both the Connecticut Football Club and Ginga FC. She feels that playing at various levels in different leagues has helped her gain a better understanding of the competitive side of soccer.
Now, Carly is getting ready for her senior season with the North Haven girls’ soccer team. Carly has known many of her teammates since their days of playing in the town’s rec league and says that there is a strong bond among them.
“I really have been really lucky with my teammates. I can’t pick out one and say I didn’t like her. I loved playing with every single one. I get sad when people graduate. My teammates are what makes me happy the most,” Carly says. “We’ve become a family. You can communicate without speaking, because you’ve played with them for so long. It’s so unique.”
Carly served as a captain for the North Haven Middle School girls’ soccer team when she was in 8th grade. As a freshman, she joined the high school team and spent most of the year on the JV level. By the time she was a sophomore, Carly had become a regular member of the varsity squad as a center back, a position that she’s played throughout her career.
“From JV to varsity and from middle school to high school in general...people start getting even more skillful,” says Carly. “It was a really good challenge, and I was happy to have that challenge.”
Carly also joined the North Haven girls’ basketball squad in her freshman year of high school. She started playing basketball in 1st grade and joined the AAU ranks as a 3rd-grader. While competing for two teams keeps her busy, Carly embraces the balance between school and sports and has learned plenty of skills that benefit her in each arena.
“Leadership and working with other people,” says Carly regarding two of the biggest things she’s learned. “It’s half the battle to have a good relationship with your teammates. You can work with them and work off of them. It’s a constant in both sports.”
With her senior season beginning this week, Carly will lead the North Haven girls’ soccer team as a captain alongside fellow seniors Emma Christoforo and Megan Russo. Carly feels honored to have been named a captain and is excited to lead North Haven on the field, especially since the season “could have slipped away so easily,” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Head Coach Gary Collins knows that Carly is a key member of North Haven’s defense. Collins wants Carly to cement her legacy at North Haven during her senior campaign.
“We want to make sure the girls have a good legacy when they leave the program—that they showed the leadership and the players remember them for being good leaders. You want to have a good season and play well and prove you’re a great soccer player, which I think Carly is,” Collins says. “The expectation is that Carly will set the bar high and have a solid season. This is part of her legacy.”
After she graduates from high school, Carly will attend UConn on a full scholarship due to her placement as North Haven’s valedictorian. Carly plans on being in the honors program and potentially play soccer or basketball at the intramural level.
Carly has always had a busy schedule while managing her athletic and academic responsibilities. Along the way, she’s developed a passion for both of her sports and made many lifelong friends. As she enters her last her of high school with an eye toward college, Carly doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
“At one point, I was playing rec, two travel teams, Premier League, and AAU basketball on top of school. It has always kept me so busy, but I’ve been so thankful to have something to do,” says Carly. “I love sports with my whole heart. I don’t want them to end. It has been the biggest part of my life other than school. It’s a great way to make and keep friends. I’ve got these friends for a very long time. It’s very special to me.”