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Plato Academy Soccer Team
2011-12 PALS League Champions
This was another amazing season for the Plato Academy 2011 – 2012 soccer team, continuing their strong performance in the local PALS league by finishing with a 10-0 record and winning the championship game against Country Day Montessori School with a final score of 6-2.
This was their second year in the Pals League and the second year as undefeated champions. The Plato Academy team practiced several times a week under the direction of their head coach, Steve Christopoulos, founding Principal and first Superintendent of Plato Academy Schools. Mr. Christopoulos is an avid soccer enthusiast with coaching and playing experience at both the recreational and competitive levels. He has been coaching his Plato Academy team for the past two years and has a vision to build a strong sports program to compliment the high achieving academic performance of Plato Academy Schools.
Coach Christopoulos was assisted by two trainers, Mrs. Connie Roelever who doubles as the Plato Schools Athletic Director and Mr. Chris Vineyard who is also the P.E. teacher at the Clearwater campus. Both Miss Connie and Mr. Chris worked weekly with the team on individual and teamwork skills. The team also benefited from the volunteer services of Mr. Dino Lalaounis, a Plato Academy board member and special goalie trainer. Current Plato Academy school superintendent, Dr. Nick Koularmanis also assisted by sharpening the players’ skills through his weekly “soccer clinic” conducted at the Clearwater campus soccer field on Friday nights.
Aligned with the school philosophy of assisting all students to reach their full potential in a fun and enthusiastic environment, Coach Christopoulos stressed personal commitment, team work, love of the game, and good sportsmanship with his players. All players were also required to maintain high academics in order to qualify for the soccer team.
Coach Christopoulos is especially proud of the 6th graders who, despite the limited playing time, were very patient and supportive of their teammates, cheering them on from the sidelines.
The Plato team consisted of 21 players in total with two strings of players; the first string was comprised of 7th and 8th graders, and the second string was made up of 6th graders. Coach Christopoulos made it a point for all players from both strings to have some playing time in every game, making it fun for all players and allowing the second string to develop their skills in readiness for next year.
League rules require all teams to be co-ed with at least two girls in the field at all times. The Plato Academy starting team consisted of six eighth grade and two seventh grade players. As a result of strong play from the goalie position led by Sebastian Tighe and Katy Sowel, and solid defending from starters Jacob Grimm, Georgia Christopoulos and David Castellano, the team recorded several shutouts allowing less than 1 goal per game.
In the midfield and center forward positions, the two team “superstars” Julian Guzman and Alex Christopoulos exhibited great playmaking and goal scoring skills. Alex relied more on his speed and strength, while Julian’s polished ball and dribbling skills were fascinating to watch. They complemented each other well with Julian scoring four goals in the championship game while Alex assisted on all four. “I am amazed at the talent of these two young players,” declared Christopoulos. It was mesmerizing to see Julian and Alex weave through the defenses with elegance and ease, creating goal opportunities and scoring at will. The sky is the limit for these two talented players.
At the left and right wing positions, rising stars Almira Jones and Ian Castellano rounded off the team with passionate and exciting performances. We look forward to their return next season. The team also benefited from the spirited play of 8th graders Michael Long, Niko Zaremba, Kobe Marion, and Eric Sturgeon. Their outstanding performances during the regular season and especially in the championship game were a clear indication of their talent and potential to play at a higher level.
Although the team will miss the departing 8th graders, Coach Christopoulos stated, “I expect the winning ways to continue next year.” Coach Christopoulos is also planning to continue coaching the team along with trainers Connie and Chris. In addition to the starting 7th graders, they have many promising underclassmen returning, including 6th grade boys Michael Kollettis, Gadmiel Griffith, Justin Simpkins, Josh Palmer, Angelo Petalas, and Gabe Shaw; and the promising and exciting 6th grade girls Anea Little, Katy Sowell, Giseelle Salinas, Katiana Kolon, Naomi Polonia, and Lauren Thompson. They look forward to competing again in the PALS league.
Another key to this season’s success story was the Plato Academy varsity cheerleading team. They attended every game and provided motivation for the players and good entertainment for the fans.
Plato Academy Schools, known for their high academic success and all “A” ratings, can now add athletic achievements to their accolades.
Watching my daughter, Anea, play as a 6th grader in the last minute of the game meant so much to me. It brought tears to my eyes!
Leotte Worktham, Parent
Our team tried hard, played together and had fun! The 6th graders were supportive and made a huge difference.
We owe it all to Mr. C! He’s a great coach!
Jacob Grimm, 8th Grade Student, Player, Student Council President
We had a great team this year and our competition was tough. Our team is more like a family than a group of friends. The 6th graders really helped.
Julian Guzman, 8th Grade Student, Player
What made this season successful was that we played like a team.
Alex Christopoulos, 8th Grade Student, Player
This was our last year to play as a team together. We had fun and a positive attitude. We are a family of friends.
Georgia Christopoulos, 8th grade Student, only 8th Grade Female Player
We listened to each other and we worked together really well.
Sebastian Tighe, 8th Grade Student, Player
The 8th Graders are good role models. Victory was not the most important thing. It was the culmination of what every player put into it. We’re establishing a tradition of athletic success.
Dr. Nick Koularmanis, Superintendent of Plato Academy Charter Schools
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