Sports Person of the Week
Damone’s an All-SCC Defender for North Haven
Sophomore Giavanna Damone garnered All-SCC Division A accolades for her excellent play on defense with the North Haven girls’ soccer team last fall. (Photo courtesy of Giavanna Damone )
Giavanna Damone admits that she didn’t really like soccer when she started playing in North Haven’s youth clinic as a four year-old. However, with her mother Trisha lending encouragement as a coach, Giavanna grew to love the sport and is now making a name for herself on defense with the North Haven girls’ soccer squad, most recently earning All-SCC honors as a sophomore.
In Giavanna’s second season playing soccer, her mother took her off the bench and gave her some more playing time. Meanwhile, Giavanna’s father Chris had taught her that confidence is key and to always stay humble. Between being on the field more often, getting support from her family, and watching her brother Christopher play, Giavanna soon realized that the soccer field was a place where she belonged.
“At first, I didn’t like playing soccer. I wanted to sit on the bench. But my mom made me play and pushed me to play,” Giavanna says. “Ever since then, I’ve played and grew up with the same people. I’ve watched my brother play and play the same position as my brother. I learned a lot and grew up to love soccer.”
After spending 10 years in North Haven’s youth league, Giavanna started playing for South Central Premier—a team she still competes for—in 8th grade. When she reached the high school level, Giavanna joined the North Haven girls’ soccer team and earned a starting spot as a left back on the varsity squad. While she was nervous about playing varsity as a freshman, Giavanna got a big boost of support from her brother that made a huge difference.
“I was nervous for some games, but my brother always told me to not be afraid of messing up, and that is the point of playing as a freshman,” says Giavanna. “You’re out there for a reason. Playing with all the upperclassmen helped me be more aggressive.”
Giavanna recently finished her sophomore season with North Haven, once again starting on defense. While North Haven saw some struggles, Giavanna was pleased that the club stuck together through the campaign and came away with a 5-4 win over Lyman Hall for its efforts.
“It was a really close game, but we all kept our composure and we all stayed positive and moved forward,” Giavanna says. “This year was a little different with COVID and everything, but I think it was important that we played as a team and did everything together.”
Giavanna received a nice parting gift for her performance when she was selected to the All-SCC Division A Team on behalf of North Haven. Giavanna felt honored to receive that accolade and says that going All-SCC gives her more confidence as she advances in her career.
“That was a big accomplishment. It meant a lot to me,” says Giavanna. “Soccer has always been my main sport, so it gives me more confidence and pushes me to keep playing next year and every year. Playing against really good teams and really good girls—it meant a lot to me.”
Head Coach Gary Collins moved Giavanna from left back to middle back during the 2020 season. Collins says that Giavanna shined her new role and provided solid defense for the squad. Giavanna was named North Haven’s Most Valuable Player at the end of the year.
“Giavanna is a special player in a lot of ways. She’s all heart and passion with toughness and a never-quit attitude. She’s also a very smart and consistent player,” says Collins. “This was a tough year, but Giavanna stood out with her technical and tactical abilities to change a game when needed. She did a great job in the center, and we look forward to a good year for her in the fall.”
With a decade of experience playing in the town’s recreational league, Giavanna has been competing alongside many of her high school teammates for several seasons. While no team wants to allow a goal, Giavanna feels that North Haven’s players do a good job of regrouping and discussing what they could do to improve whenever that does happen. Giavanna says that the support of her teammates has helped her grow on her road to becoming a varsity starter and now an All-SCC honoree.
“My teammates really make me strong. We are comfortable with each other, and we have confidence knowing our team is working for you and with you,” Giavanna says. “When we get scored on, it’s not fun. But all of our teammates, even the forwards, will all huddle up and talk about what we can do better. We’re still working as a team, and we just have to keep our head in the game.”
As she moves into her junior season and beyond, Giavanna’s goals are to help North Haven continue improving on the field, while striving to be a solid leader and resource for her teammates.
Giavanna’s family still supports her every step of the way, and her mother attends every game that she can. While she might not have realized it at first, soccer has made a huge impact in Giavanna’s life and is a sport that she loves playing in North Haven.
“This sport means a lot to me. I love playing it,” says Giavanna. “I’ve made some really good friendships, and it means a lot in my life. I enjoy going to practice, getting touches on the ball, and experiencing new challenges.”