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The Onslaught Continues: Mills’ Soccer Wins Berkshire League Once Again

Geoffrey Gelorme, Writer

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LEWIS MILLS─ Soccer and titles seem to go hand in hand here in Burlington, CT, where the Lewis S. Mills Boy’s and Girl’s soccer teams have made a habit of winning the Berkshire League title. Both teams have brought the title home for the last four years, and they don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Somewhere along the line, the extraordinary became routine, and success has become a tradition for the Spartans at Lewis Mills. But how does a small town like Burlington produce not-so-small soccer talent? When asked what she considered the reason for such repetitive success over the years, girl’s team senior and co-captain Madison Murdick, replied,

“The success is probably because there are so many (soccer) programs that lead into Mills Girls Soccer Club (MGSC) like the Har-Bur soccer team and Burlington Junior Soccer Association (BJSA) which start girls playing soccer earlier. That way there are always skilled groups of girls coming into the program with a history of the game.”

Obviously, she and the rest of the girls team have benefited from the programs this town has to offer. Their 14-1 record this past season is proof of that. The boys, too, experienced similar success this past season by racking up 14 wins and one tie, slightly besting their female counterparts. In a more in depth take on why he thought the boys’ soccer team has experienced lots of success in recent years, Alex Pearson, senior defender said,

“I think success can be measured in more than just winning games. Yes, we have won the BLT (Berkshire League Title) for the last four years in a row, but we also took the program and built it up to where it is today. It is definitely because of our team chemistry together. We have been playing together since we were infants, so none of us ever fight or need an ego check. Loving each other and our coach helps us play better because it creates a great environment where you want to go to practice, and you want to make school history with your friends.”

Pearson’s long-time friend, teammate, and fellow defenseman Jack Nepomuceno responded to the same question:

“I think we’ve been so successful because we have been playing together for so long. We play for each other and work hard for each other. With hard work and good team chemistry, we are successful.”

He only just touched upon it within his response, but without a doubt, one of the major contributing factors to the boys’ success is their coach, Ben Kulas. Year after year he’s fostered the boys’ program through the bad and the good, devoting most of his life to it in the hopes of making it the best it can be. He provided a very heartfelt response when asked how he’s managed to win for the past four years in a row, saying,

“Well, I haven’t won anything. The players won the titles.  As a coach, my job is to prepare the players for each game, make them stronger, teach, and put them in the right mindset to be prepared for their matches. For me, I also try to create a fun and positive environment that people want to be around and a part of.  When the environment is fun and enjoyable, in my opinion, the product on the field is better. But when the whistle blows, it’s all on the players.”

He then took a moment to gather his thoughts on how his team has managed to win the Berkshire League for the last four years running.

“I would say the players managed to win the past 4 years because they have talent, for one. And also, they buy into the idea that hard work and playing as a team leads to success (however you define success). I also think it is important for the players to have a lot of ownership in the program and have a say in decisions.”

He and the rest of Mills’ soccer community speak of the program with such selflessness and admiration, it’s no wonder both teams do so well each year. As a matter of fact, the girls’ team unfortunately experienced a tragic last minute loss to Bethel in their States Quarter-finals game, and the boys made it to the States Semi-finals in a riveting game against Tolland.  It eventually resulted in a loss for the Spartans after going into double overtime with penalty kicks, which secured the win for Tolland.  While the 2015 season may be over, there is no doubt the team will come back just as strong next year.

 

The writer plays on the boys’ soccer team as an attacking midfielder

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