The best of the best
The top high school players in the area will be under one roof when the fifth annual Niagara Region High School Soccer Showcase, sponsored by the Niagara College Knights, takes place Wednesday, June 13 at Youngs Sportsplex in Welland.
The games will feature more than 80 of the top soccer players representing 22 high schools from across Niagara. The girls and boys will be split into two teams designed to spotlight their skill and athleticism.
The girls kick off at 6 p.m. followed by the boys at 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Knights men’s soccer assistant coach Rino Berardi conceived the idea for the event in 2014.
“This event was originally created as an opportunity to provide local soccer fans a chance to see all the best soccer players in the Niagara region play with or against each other,” Berardi said.
Niagara head coach Frank DeChellis is impressed by how the game has grown.
“When Rino proposed this event five years ago, I never dreamt that it would have been this impactful. His brainchild has grown into an anticipated event among high school players and coaches.
“The showcase has really grown into a top-quality event and is a nice celebration of the high school soccer scene. Letting skilled athletes play in a pressure-free environment allows them to display their passion for football. Both games are always entertaining and it doesn’t take long for new teammates to start combining on the pitch.”
The head coaches of the women’s and men’s teams have noticed the quality of soccer displayed at the showcase games.
“I have been very impressed with the overall talent and calibre of our local high school teams,” Niagara College women’s head coach Rob Lalama said. “This showcase game allows all these outstanding players an opportunity to put their individual skills on display.”
The games have proved to be a valuable tool for Niagara when it comes to recruiting.
“Rino’s success at unearthing local talent is a direct result of the high school coaches who are in constant contact with us,” DeChellis added. “It’s another bridge between Niagara College and local high schools. We aim to motivate these student-athletes to consider post-secondary education as well as post-secondary soccer.
“We really do have a lot of talent in Niagara. A good chunk of our roster is filled by Niagara area players who have played prominent roles in our recent success. Word has spread that we are contenders and that has fuelled a lot of interest in Niagara College and our soccer program.”
Since its inception, 25 participants have gone on to compete for the men’s and women’s soccer programs at Niagara, including Michelle Maecker (2018 Knights Female Rookie Athlete of the Year), Kara Latham (2018 Soccer MVP , 2017 Knights Female Rookie Athlete of the Year), Jacob Therrien (2017 Knights Male Rookie Athlete of the Year) and Kimbel Donyare (2016 Knights Male Rookie Athlete of the Year).
2018 BOYS HIGH SCHOOL SHOWCASE ROSTER
Oti Frigole, Governor Simcoe; Nick Pringle, Governor Simcoe; Jordan VanHerwynen, Smithville Christian; Dean Miller, Port High; Taylor Desmarais, Port High; Mario Borojevic, Westlane; Tamas Kalenda, E.L. Crossley; Duncan Glancy, E.L. Crossley SS; Bradley Connor, Jean Vanier; Ian Hauber, Jean Vanier; Jarret Heidebrecht, Centennial; Kylar Lampman, Centennial; Xavier Makris, Grimsby; Oreyn Hall, St. Michael; Riley Hart, St. Michael; Ivan Mamic, St. Francis; Nick DiPasquale, St. Francis; Alonso Gaci, St. Francis; Matt Wnukowski, Notre Dame; Nolan Bosetti, Notre Dame; Noah Dabramo, St. Paul; Victor Kariuki, St. Paul; Jake Casciano, St. Paul; Luka Peso, Holy Cross; Altin Ibrahimi, Holy Cross; Tristan Samuel, Holy Cross; Connor Carroll, Holy Cross; Patrick Alvarez, Blessed Trinity; Jonah Boria, Blessed Trinity; Matt Fang, Lakeshore; Patrick Loanidis, Greater Fort Erie; Caleb Crawford, Sir Winston Churchill; Evan Charnock, Denis Morris; Michael Fernandez, Denis Morris; Hayden Ladouceur, Denis Morris; Cole Giarratano, Denis Morris; Marco Primerano, A.N, Myer; Nicholas Andreola, A.N. Myer; Sebastian Argudo, Holy Cross; Josh Allegro, A.N. Myer; Matt Scocchia, Grimsby; Anthony Marroquin Denis Morris; Taylor Miscolzi, Notre Dame; Hunter Oakley, Blessed Trinity.
2018 GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL SHOWCASE ROSTER
Madi Crowe-O’Brien, Beamsville; Sierra Dykstra, Governor Simcoe; Madison Small, Governor Simcoe; Kate Knafelc, E.L. Crossley; Sommer Newton, E.L. Crossley; Kaitlyn Pressley, Thorold; Sam Seburn, Thorold; Lauren Berlingeri, A.N. Myer; Jocelyn Allan, A.N. Myer; Brianna Bishop, A.N. Myer; Stephanie Isherwood, Denis Morris; Terin Hultink, Smithville; Kyra Eaton, Lakeshore; Hailey Gowel, Lakeshore; Isabella DeNardi, Lakeshore; Alyssa Arcand, Jean Vanier; Danielle Brinker, Jean Vanier; Catherine Wirkkunen, Centennial; Laryn Palin, Blessed Trinity; Olivia Iannotta, Blessed Trinity; Mia DiPasquale, Blessed Trinity; Madison Rotella, St. Michael; Carley Ibey, St. Michael; Annie Ibey, St. Michael; Sarah O’Rourke, Holy Cross; Shelby Parker, Holy Cross; Jesalyn Rothney, Sir Winston Churchill; Julia Barker, Sir Winston Churchill; Jordan Gabriele, Sir Winston Churchill; Lindsay Horton, Notre Dame; Kate Raso, Notre Dame; Samantha Duncan, Notre Dame; Sarah Scerbo, St. Paul; Isabelle Newkirk, Governor Simcoe; Breanna Habinski, Greater Fort Erie; Jenna Hamann, Notre Dame; Julia Thies, Smithville; Sophia Al-Kayed, St.Francis.
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