Steele tests her mettle at new position
E.L. Crossley’s Scarlett Steele is getting a chance to see a different side of the soccer pitch.
The 15-year-old Wainfleet resident plays a year up with the Niagara Football Club’s under-17 Ontario Player Development League team as a keeper but is playing forward for her high school team.
The Grade 9 student looked right at home Wednesday scoring a goal and setting up Julianne Moore for another to help the visiting Cyclone record a 2-1 victory over the Governor Simcoe Redcoats in Niagara Region High School Athletic Association play.
“It’s good and I am getting a chance to work on my footwork here so I will be more confident in goal where it matters. I like it.”
Playing out gives her a different perspective on the sport.
“It does but at the same time I see it when I am in goal. I understand where things are going and I am getting better at it as I play.”
One obvious element that Steele brings to playing out is a willingness to battle physically with the opposition. She credits that aggressive nature to playing travel hockey with the Stoney Creek Sabres. She enjoys hockey but soccer is her top priority.
“I thinks soccer is going to be my thing because I think I am better at it but I love hockey just a much and I think it is good to have both.”
Her soccer and hockey seasons overlap between April and September which makes Steele a busy teenager during that time.
“A lot of times it’s double nights when I go to hockey and then I go to soccer but I make it work.”
Steele started her soccer career at Roma and made stops with the St. Catharines Jets and Welland before landing with Niagara Falls FC. It is her third season of OPDL play.
“It is really good and I enjoy playing at the top level. You get the best competition so it is really nice.”
She feels her game has made steady progress in the past few seasons.
“I think I am improving and improving as I go.”
Crossley head coach Derek Samaroo is happy to have Steele on his squad.
“She has good movement and we are working with her to build the team together. We are working on the one-two passes but I think she is doing really well,” he said. “It is building confidence with the rest of our players and trust with her teammates so they can make those connections and be more effective. I think you saw more of that today that you probably did in prior games.”
The Cyclone improved to 1-2-1 on the season with the win.
“We have a mix of seniors and freshmen so it is a good mix. They are coming together and our first win of the season is a pretty exciting time for the kids,” Samaroo said.
He likes how the Cyclone are trending.
“We have kids who play at a very high level and they are working with some of the players to bring them all up together. That is a good thing about the team and the chemistry is building quite nicely,” said Samaroo, who also coaches with the Villa Vikings collegiate squad in Buffalo, N.Y.
Steele credited the first win to a different approach.
“I think we are shooting the ball more and picking corners which is good. We are also looking for each other and getting more confident with each other.”
Chloe Turner scored for the Redcoats, who fell to 0-4 on the season with the loss.
“We lost eight or nine Grade 12s and we have a lot of new faces and a lot of Grade 9s and 10s. They are figuring out how to play out there and you saw that today,” Governor Simcoe head coach Aaron Potalivo said.
It is clearly a rebuilding year for the Redcoats.
“You put players in different positions and see what they can do and you have to observe,” he said. “They are from different club teams and you have see where they can play on the field and go from there.”
Potalivo is seeing progress.
“We started by getting blown out and now we have been scoring goals and playing a lot better. I have seen improvement, for sure.”