When you play high school soccer in
, there's a lot to live up to. The history of success on both the boys and girls side is enormous. The youth program in town, the Hartwell Soccer Club, is in its fifth decade of operation, and sports nearly 3,000 members.
"(The players) understand that there's 30-plus years of other girls putting on those Glastonbury shirts and working hard," said Glastonbury girls coach Joe Finocchiaro
. "They realize the history and tradition that we've been trying to build, and hopefully we can continue that tradition."
No reason to believe they can't.
Glastonbury is one of 10 fall girls teams to be honored as a national title Early Contender, presented by adidas and Dick's Sporting Goods. With two straight CIAC Class LL final appearances in the book and numerous players returning from last year's team, it would be news if the Tomahawks weren't in the mix again in 2013.
A year ago, Glastonbury won its first 19 games before falling 2-1 to Newtown in the Class LL championship game. The season prior to that, the Tomahawks went unbeaten (17-0-2) in winning the state crown in the CIAC's largest division. They have been to the finals three times in the last four years and were ranked as high as seventh in the country late in 2012 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
See all the 2013 Fall Soccer Early Contenders
Connecticut hasn't been the easiest place in the world to play soccer the last two falls. Both seasons have been disrupted by crippling October snowstorms. Then, of course, there was Superstorm Sandy to deal with last year.
Little, however, has stood in Glastonbury's path to success.
"This season will be kind of a rebuilding season for us," said Finocchiaro, whose soccer pedigree includes time as a player with national junior college power Ulster (N.Y.) Community College and North Carolina-Wilmington, as well as with the USL's Wilmington Hammerheads.
"Although we have many key spots filled, we have more available opportunities for players looking to start moreso this year than the last few seasons. The group is focused and determined to compete. Through hard work and perseverance, many of these players know what it takes for them to achieve their goals."See the entire Glastonbury photo galleryLocal outlook:
“Glastonbury is poised to be a state power once again. It returns eight starters from last season’s CIAC Class LL runner-up. But Class LL will be tougher this season, as a new CIAC rule has moved two-time Class M champion Northwest Catholic, Class M runner-up St. Joseph and six-time champion Suffield into the division."- Ned Griffen, New London Day (@MetalNED)