Sports Person of the Week
Infantino Sees Decorated Season on the Field
Junior captain Kendall Infantino earned All-SCC and All-State honors for a Branford girls’ soccer squad that advanced to its divisional final this fall. (Photo courtesy of Kendall Infantino )
Kendall Infantino first met Branford girls’ soccer coach Jen Kohut while participating in the Little Hornets clinic when she was just three years old. Now, Kendall is playing for Kohut at the high school and recently completed a junior season that saw her earn some major accolades, while leading the Hornets as a captain.
Kendall, a defender, took part in the Little Hornets clinic simply because she wanted to get involved in a sport. However, once she started rising up the ranks, Kendall realized that soccer was going to be much more than a hobby for her.
“When I first started playing soccer, I just knew it was going to be my sport. I fell in love with it immediately,” Kendall says. “It’s a fast-paced sport. I love the competitiveness. It’s just really fun.”
Kendall started playing travel soccer in Branford when she was six. Two years later, she began competing with South Central Premier. As she ascended to higher levels of competition, Kendall came to love soccer more and more, particularly the speed of the game.
Kendall joined the Hornets as a freshman and immediately became a starting defender for the varsity squad. Kendall remembers her first game and how much she enjoyed competing in the high school environment. As she entered her sophomore season, Kendall felt more comfortable on the field as a result of that freshman experience.
“I was still learning in my sophomore year. I learn every day from practice and games,” says Kendall. “After that freshman year of starting with everyone, I was a lot more comfortable on the field. I was with the same people, and I felt better communicating on the field and being a leader.”
Kendall was focused on growing as a leader during the summer before her junior year. She worked on both her soccer skills and communicating effectively with her teammates. Kendall was able to put everything she learned to good use while serving as a captain for Branford with junior goalie Macey Girard this fall.
“After sophomore year, I knew I could possibly be a captain, and that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be a captain on this team,” Kendall says. “I want to be a leader for everyone and a good role model. I really worked hard over the summer and talked to my team and did everything I could to be a leader for everyone.”
Kendall helped Branford have a great campaign that saw the Hornets post a record of 6-4-2 and advance to the championship game of the SCC Division B Tournament. By virtue of her performance throughout the season, Kendall garnered both All-SCC Division B and All-State accolades on behalf of Branford. When she heard the news, Kendall felt excited and proud about what she and her teammates achieved this season.
Coach Kohut has watched Kendall grow as a soccer player since first working with her in the Little Hornets clinic. Kohut says that Kendall has become a solid leader and an excellent defender in the years that have passed.
“Kendall has been with us as a varsity player since her freshman year and has been a leader for the defense. She is a really hard worker and leads by example,” says Kohut. “She is a big, strong kid. You can’t push her off the ball. She is very fast. She is not afraid to take the ball all the way up the field. There are going to be a lot of college scouts looking at her during her senior year. To get these awards this year is huge.”
As Kendall looks toward her senior season—one in which her sister Bryce will be a freshman on the team—her goals are to potentially become an All-American and help Branford claim SCC and state titles. Kendall is excited to play one last season alongside a group of teammates that she’s become close to during her tenure with the Hornets.
“I love my team. I love every single one of them. They make me better, too. They’re always helping me,” Kendall says. “They’re all so fun. They’re very competitive. It is great.”
Kendall has been flourishing on the field ever since she started playing soccer. Along the way, she’s formed plenty of strong bonds with her fellow Hornets. As much as she loves the wins and the competition, Kendall also appreciates how soccer provides an avenue that allows her to be the person she wants to be.
“It’s great. I really love the sport,” says Kendall. “It’s a great way for me to escape everything else that’s going on around me. For that time I’m at a practice or at a game, I can just be myself and have fun with everyone.”