The Kittatinny United U14 has won its fourth Morris County youth Soccer Association league title in five years. The team is led by a suffocating defense and a relentless offensive attack and iced the year with a 9-1 league record in Flight 1, scoring 27 goals while allowing just four to get by.
The team finished 18-3-1 overall with highlights that included a quarter-final appearance in the New Jersey State Cup, earning the title of champions at the Piscataway Fall Classic and numerous wins over some of the top teams in the tri-state area. The team achieved all of this while overcoming injuries to key position players along the way.
Coach Charlie Templeton, of Fredon, has been a driving force in putting the team in positions to be successful.
“Since putting the team together five years ago, the girls have grown in skill level, maturity and developed a deep and abiding commitment to one another,” Templeton said.
He credits his players and his parents.
“It all starts with the parents and theircommitment both time wise and financially,” Templeton said. “Having to get their kids to practices that always run late, games and tournaments we enter is not easy on a family.”
Templeton's philosophy is wrapped around the believe that if the team is to improve, it needs to increase the competition it sees. He arranges a demanding schedule that takes the team all over the tri-state region, with Kittatinny United playing almost every weekend.
“What’s great is that you can’t miss the sea of blue sweatshirts and loud cheering from the sidelines,” he said. “The parents get along great and this has only added to the camaraderie the girls have for each other.”
Most of the girls have been on Kittatinny United since its inception five years ago: some as early as third grade.
“They’ve learned to believe in and depend on one another on the field and they’ve all developed great friendships off of it,” Templeton said.
The team is led, offensively, by Brooke Nelson, Sophia Molfetto, Abby Marra, Paige Hull, Christina Fagerman and Taylor Hough, Kittatinny United tallied more than 50 goals this season. The defense was deemed the best in Flight 1 with Sienna Templeton, Mackenzie Schreiber, Lola Brand, Hannah Olsen and keeper Brooke Ginsberg allowing only 10 goals in 22 games with 11 shut outs. The team also had major contributions from Holly Sajdak, Abby DeFalco, Jenn Gordon and Chloe Paige.
“The girls always want an opportunity to showcase their skills and it’s a great feeling to know how much they want to play the game,” Templeton said. “I believe the girls can do something special when they get to the high school level and that paints a bright picture for Kittatinny Cougar soccer, which has emerged as force in North 1 Group 1 play.”
Templeton tells his players, “When you’re playing meaningful soccer games in November that means you’re competing for a state soccer championship.”
He believes the team can accomplish that feat, provided they continue to play “team first” soccer and further build their skills over the coming years.
“This is a very special group of girls and it’s been a joy to help guide them toward their soccer goals each season,” he said. “I’m very proud of each and every one of them.”