WICCOPEE – There’s a certain uniqueness about the John Jay High School girls soccer team.
Like, for instance, a unique summer for two of the Patriots, which included a soccer camp in London. There’s also coach C.J. Greenwood’s uniquely food-themed team motto. And the fact that the Patriots are entering this season as the defending Section 1 Class AA champions is definitely unique.
With that distinctiveness, John Jay anticipates continued success this year.
“We’re excited. We’re gearing up. We’re ready,” said senior center-midfielder Erin Theiller at practice on Wednesday. “It’s about getting better each game.”
Two months ago, Theiller and returning senior defender Deanna Lomino traveled to London to play for Soccer Plus Camps, a program that has developed soccer players who have gone on to play for U.S. National teams. They brought several lessons back to the mid-Hudson Valley, which they shared with fellow teammates.
Discipline, Theiller said, was one of the most important intangibles she learned from the experience.
“Every touch, every time you step out onto the pitch, you’ve got to be focused,” Theiller said. “You’ve got to be ready to bring your game.”
Lomino called the 10-day trip “awesome.”
“Being in such a football-rich country was probably the highlight of my summer,” Lomino said.
Special journey aside, Theiller, Lomino and the rest of the Patriots have been working with Greenwood on the fundamentals to prepare for the season, which begins Friday, Sept. 9 against host Scarsdale.
Last year, Greenwood abided by a certain adage to teach his players how to handle themselves. He instructed them to “be the coffee, not the egg or the carrot.”
As in, carrots and eggs go into boiling water and come out soft. Coffee goes into boiling water and comes out with a sweet aroma.
“The pressure is there again this year,” Greenwood said. “We can either get bitter about it, we can get soft on it, or we can come out smelling better than when we came in. I think they’re all focused on being that coffee again this year.”
The Patriots had the fresh scent of a nice cup of java in the sectional final against North Rockland — which avenged a 2014 finals loss to North Rockland. But, John Jay was beaten by Monroe-Woodbury in the state regional semifinals.
John Jay will meet Monroe-Woodbury on Sept. 27 in a non-league game, after playing against the likes of Arlington, Roy C. Ketcham, Carmel, Mahopac, Yorktown and Harrison throughout the month.
But with experience, a wacky slogan and uniqueness, the Patriots aim to compete with every team on its schedule.
“It’s always kind of our motto to rise to the occasion and perform at the highest level we can, because we’re a very competitive group,” Lomino said. “So it’s always there — the competitiveness.”
A.J. Martelli: email@example.com, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports