Jake Mull has been the head girls soccer coach at Newton High School for 28 years and he's been teaching at the high school for 30 years. He said that what makes the Newton program unique is that the majority of his assistant coaches have been players.
“They believe in the system and realize that we are trying to develop players that learn the game of soccer so that they can join any other team and become a productive player for that team,” he said.
Molly Whipple and Katie Weber are his assistants.
“The Newton soccer program will always hold a place in my heart. It has given me lifelong friends, memories, and shaped me to be the person I am today,” said Weber, who played for Mull from 2010 to 2014. “I always look back and wish I could play one more game under the lights with my teammates from Newton. We did not play just to win but played because we loved it.”
Weber said that what makes the program so special is that everyone treats each other like family and “'has each others' backs both on and off the field.”
“My brother, Brian Martin, is the head coach for the varsity boys team and we always say how Newton soccer is made up of 'grinders:' kids who are willing to work hard and put in whatever it takes,” she said. “Some of the kids may come from nothing, some may ride their bikes to practice without a ride or a car, some may go right from practice to work, but that does not stop them. They continue to show up and give their all to the Newton soccer program.”
Miller attributes the team's strength to their skill and versatility.
"I can take any player and put them anywhere on the field," he said. "The players work together as a team so if one player is down the other players pick up the slack.”
The team bonds through pasta dinners, making scrimmage shirts and through spirit days off the field.
“I believe that the program here is unique because it brings girls together and helps create long lasting friendships throughout the season and the four years of high school,” said player Blaise Vallorosi. “With 13 of us leaving I definitely believe that there will be a big change in the team but there is no doubt in my mind that the girl's soccer program will still do great and create great friendships for the future.”
She said that some of them have been playing soccer with each other since fourth grade.
“I think that Newton soccer is going to be a huge milestone in my life because the sport is something that I've been playing my entire life and for the four years of high school soccer. I have definitely grown as a player and became closer with my friends,” Vallorosi said. “Newton soccer brings the community together especially during the games under the lights on a cool fall night. The feeling of stepping on the field everyday is exhilarating and definitely something I will miss and always looked forward to when the season approached.”
Like Vallorosi, Lanie Scuralli graduates in 2020. She's one of the most versatile playing defense, midfield and forward.
“Since we are such a small school, a lot of the girls have been playing with each other since elementary school,” she said. “Also, when you are a Newton Brave, you are a part of a family which sets us apart from other bigger towns.”
Regarding the loss of so many players after this season, Scuralli said. “Although that is a large number of girls to be losing, the incoming class is a strong on and the current lower class men, will be able to display their strengths.”
Jocelyn Mull feels that the Newton program is unique because of the team's skill.
“Our team molds very well with each other and no matter who gets subbed into the game, our playing and the pace of the game does not change,” she said.
Senior Olivia Buckley said respect is a key factor.
“For instance, there is nobody on our team who has any problems with another person," she said. "In games no matter if we are loosing by a lot or winning, I believe that we play the exact same way and never let down.”
The Lady Braves soccer team stands at 7-6-2 as they head into the end of the season and states.
“The thing is, once you step on the field at Newton it does not matter who you are, where you are from or what brought you here but instead how hard you are willing to work and how much the sport means to you,” Weber said. “Playing at Newton means playing with your heart and alongside your friends.”