NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The New Rochelle High School Boys and Girls Soccer team were honored this week for showing that scoring goals is not the only important objective on the field. The boys' team won the Sportsmanship Award from the Westchester-Putnam Approved Soccer Officials Association.
The girls' team was one of five finalists among girls' teams. The WPASOA picks a winner and several runners-up for each gender.
"It is a great honor when the soccer officials recognize teams for the way they conduct themselves on the field," said Athletic Director Steve Young. "I am proud of our teams and coaches Notaristefano and Garcia for being not only outstanding coaches but also exemplary role models for our student-athletes. To me, this award proves that the soccer teams are both successful competitively, as they both were league champions, and in the level of respect that they have for their sport."
The winning teams received their awards at the WPASOA end-of-year dinner Wednesday at the Women's Club of White Plains. They were chosen from soccer officials' recommendations of teams who behaved well on the field. Finalists are sorted by the fewest number of yellow and red cards received for the season.
"The honor says that the players go out and they play clean, they play hard and they play by the rules," said WPASOA President Richard Leaf. "They know that it's important to win, but at the same time, we need to conduct ourselves well. They're representing their town, they're representing their school, and it's important to put a good foot forward."
"This award goes up there with us winning the state championship last year," said boys' team coach Jarohan Garcia. "Four years ago, when we were tasked to rebuild the program, sportsmanship was the sole focus. We knew that if we earned respect on and off the field, regardless of scores, we would be able to keep our heads high and take pride in what we were trying to accomplish as coaches, players and a program."
"It was never about the ring, the banners, the fame; it was about reshaping a program," said Javier Amezcua, a captain of the boys' team for two years and two-time All-Section selection. "There is no better way to recognize our four-year journey than by accepting the sportsmanship award."