For the third straight year, Sabrina Porter is the rock of her soccer team at Academy of Aerospace and Engineering, outside Hartford. There’s just one catch: She’s the only girl on her team, the Aerospace boys soccer squad.
“It didn’t take me a minute on Aug. 23 at our first practice to see it wasn’t a girl on a soccer team — she was a soccer player,” Aerospace coach Angelo Morello told the Hartford Courant of Porter’s role on the team. “Forget about the gender. She is the ultimate leader. It’s amazing how she can lead 24 boys and they respond. She’s a competitor, she’s their vocal leader — she’s the queen of the field.”
For Porter, every game and every season was a proving ground. She racked up a goal and eight assists for Aerospace, proving to be the team’s leader and metronome in the midfield. And while her teammates have always had her back — “I supported her decision so much,” senior captain Stephen Carmona told the Courant — she was constantly faced with doubts about her ability to compete against other all male teams.
“You get a lot of remarks,” she said. “Definitely one of the things that ticked me off a lot is, ‘Oh, why is she playing? Why’d they put her in — she’s not even that good for a girl being on the boys team.’
“It’s definitely more of a reaction when I do something than one of my other teammates, because I’m a girl. It shows they underestimated me and they have lower expectations of me because I’m a girl. But at the same time, I just proved them wrong and everybody’s freaking out about it. There’s times I get beat by boys and it’s a bigger reaction because they’re like, ‘Oh, she just got embarrassed.’ And I’m like, ‘You win some, you lose some.’”
As a senior, Porter helped lead Aerospace to a league title before an eventual loss in the first round of the Class M state tournament.
It may not have been the fairy tale ending Porter wanted for a sterling career, but it doesn’t undermine all of the things she did accomplish across a three-year varsity career, no matter what comes next.
“Decision-making, there’s no one better than her,” Morello told the Courant. “Sabrina has excelled playing with the boys.”