EASTON, MA –The weekend of June 11 and 12 was a busy one on the pitch for the Legacy Soccer Club 2009 Girls’ Team as they competed in the New England Premiership League (NPL) Final Four Tournament. Showcasing the top four U13 girls teams in the standings following a competitive regular season, the winner would earn a berth in the affiliated National Championship hosted in Denver, Colorado this summer. The competition? Some of the best girls’ U13 soccer teams in the country.
Originally formed in 2016 as the Easton United Soccer Club, many of these U13 Legacy girls have been playing together since the second and third grade. On top of this history, they have a unique team composition with local roots consisting of 12 girls from Easton, 3 girls from Hanson, 2 from Sharon and 1 from Mansfield. Oliver Ames Varsity boys’ Coach John Barata founded the Legacy Soccer Club and has coached the 2009 girls’ team for the last three years… but he wasn’t always the team’s coach. The girls’ first coach was James “Scott” Dolan, a staple in the New England soccer community with an infectious smile and booming laugh who always encouraged the kids to play “Big Girl Soccer.” Amid his many soccer ventures, Barata tapped Dolan to run the 2009 team from the club’s inception. Dolan played an incredible role in the foundational development of these superstars, but tragically passed away from a brain tumor in 2019. Barata, whose daughter Elizabeth plays on the team, picked up where his good friend Dolan left off.
Legacy’s Final Four started out against a gritty Aztec club team in the semi-final round. Down 1-0, the Legacy girls tied it up early in the second half on a beauty from Linda Jenner. With spectators anticipating a possible overtime shootout, forward Mallori Waldron scored the dramatic go-ahead with just two minutes left in the game. This secured the team a spot in Sunday’s League Championship.
On Championship Sunday, Legacy drew a rematch with a powerful South Shore Select club team. Select won the regular season matchup, with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Legacy. On this day, however, it would be Legacy that cruised down the Road to Denver. Jumping out to an early 1-0 lead on a skillful goal by Waldron, Legacy scored their second goal a few minutes later on a beautiful rocket by Hayden Kelly from the right corner of the penalty box at the 18-yard line.
Meanwhile, Legacy’s defense, led by Annika Patel and Isla Gamble in the middle, kept Select in check throughout the game, with support from Madeline Barry, Mya Andrews, Clementine Lockhart, and Greta Teravainen on the outside.
The midfield, consisting of Brooke Dean, Siena Fabrizio, Molly Manning, Penny Wooden, controlled possession, giving opportunities to forwards Elizabeth Barata, Emerson Bourgelas, Devin Thomas, and Sara Paul throughout the game. Fabrizio scored a third goal on a penalty kick late in the second half, securing the shoutout victory for stalwart goalie Olivia Zaniboni.
After the game, Coach Barata addressed his team and families, “The last couple years have been fun, ever since the girls have been with Scotty Dolan. We knew there would be change, but we knew they’d play ‘Big Girl Soccer.’ At the end of the day, we do dedicate all of our success to Scotty putting us together and then having us take Legacy as a club. It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us… it’s fun, it’s the first time ever the Legacy Soccer Club has won an NPL Championship and going to represent the club in a national environment.” Legacy Soccer Club, a relatively new youth soccer club in New England (or Massachusetts?), is known for its family friendly approach stating “Pride, Power, and Purpose” as its mission. Barata finished the victorious day, saying “For us, it’s a very important moment to recognize Scott and all of the hard work that everyone here has done. The girls have stayed true to the mission…we were just a little Legacy Club, where you all could have left and gone to big, big clubs…and we just beat them all!”
In Denver, the girls will give it their all 5,279 feet closer to Coach Dolan.
L-E-G, A-C-Y, Legacy, Legacy, Legacy PRIDE!