Participating in sports during your high school years, especially varsity sports, allows students to cultivate the confidence, empathy, self-awareness and advantageous habits they will need to be a successful individual. At EF Academy, we go so far as to say that activities like these contribute to their development as a Global Changemaker. There’s no doubt that athletics teach students valuable lessons that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
This fall, EF Academy New York had a prosperous varsity sports season through their teams: Girls and Boys Varsity Soccer, Girls Varsity Volleyball and Varsity Cross Country. Here are quick recaps of our teams’ successful seasons:
Boys Varsity Soccer, coached by Adrian Burgess (Head Coach/Trainer), Jonas Valenti (Goalkeeping/Assist. Coach), Ilker Dugan (Assistant Coach/Trainer) and Gregor Roach (Volunteer Assist. Coach), had a spectacular season with a record of 11-2-2. Captains Malik of Mozambique and Marco of Japan led our squad through their biggest loss to the nation powerhouse, South Kent, but by the end of the season had helped the team grow to defeat them when they faced each other again at the final game of the season. Alberto from Italy was the top goal scorer, averaging ~1.2 goals per game. His predecessor as top goal scorer was Daigo of Japan, who over the course of the season also became a set piece specialist. The attack could not have commenced without the hard-nosed tackles and defensive talents of Mingi of South Korea, or Theo of Germany. The record could not have stood without the acrobatic, disciplined, and dedicated leadership of the first team goalkeeper Reí of Japan. This year the varsity team was composed of 11 nationalities and overall, the season was a huge success. The boys are anxious to start indoor winter conditioning, and then Spring training for the next upcoming Fall Season.
Girls Varsity Soccer’s fall season was unlike any other as athletes and coaches from 14 nationalities got to know one another and became a team. Coaches Miriam Ortiz and Adam Bavone pushed the players on the team to improve. For some athletes, the season was about developing the skills for a sport they already loved. For others, it was about discovering a new passion and challenging themselves to learn something new. The resilience of this team is admirable as was the leadership of the three captains; Siren of Norway, Zoë, and Abigail of the US collectively guided the team. In a season of five soccer matches, they were victorious in three. Abigail was top goal scorer averaging 2 or more goals per game. Siren and Karjord of Norway repeatedly worked together to bring the ball up the field. The team was low on numbers, but these players showed resilience as some of them played entire games without breaks. Natalie and Valentina of Italy also showed great confidence on the field by volunteering to be the team goalies. As our season ended in our last victory match, the athletes hugged each other and congratulated one another, as one of the players stated, “we were more than a team, we were a family.”
Girls Varsity Volleyball started the season off with a challenging game against the league champions team from Riverdale after only a week into our training. With only 7 starting vaccinated players, we managed to hold our own, and while we lost the first match, our spirits remained high. Skill and energy improved from then on. The team worked hard at every practice and stood the trials of multiple games – 3 per week to be in-fact, leading us to several victories with ace serving and great blocks and diving liberos! The team grew as one and learned to depend on each other and performed phenomenal plays. One of our highlights was our game against Storm King; we traveled far to clinch a last minute YouTube-marvelous-moment with only 7 players and no subs. It was amazing! The season ended in a mere 4 losses and glorious 10 wins, making us – Bill Roach, Head coach and Sinead Kelly, Assistant Coach – very proud coaches.
Boys & Girls Varsity Cross Country season came to an end and it was evident that the dedicated and determined team improved immensely throughout the season. After weeks of grueling workouts and practices, our team visited the Storm King Invitational where our girls took 1st place, and our boys took 4th place overall. We also traveled to NYC where we participated in the Terry Fox Run and contributed to raising over $100,000 for Cancer Research. To finish the season off, we went and competed at Hamden Hall. Our girls finished 1st place with Viridiana, Thea, and Aleksandra finishing in the top 4. Our boys had two top 5 finishes with Samuel in 2nd place and Kei in 4th place. Watching our students grow throughout the course of the season and seeing their hard work and commitment pay off has been extremely rewarding. They are proud to represent our school, just as our school is proud to call them our athletes.
We’re delighted to offer students the opportunity to participate in varsity sports. As it has clearly been shown, sports not only give our students the chance to build life skills, but also give them a family.