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Article Published August 6, 2020

Myers is a True Keeper and Leader

By By Dan Fappiano

Asa Myers first stepped on the soccer field when competing in East Haven’s rec league when he was 10. Asa had some friends who had played soccer and he decided to give the sport a try. When he reached Joseph Melillo Middle School, Asa became the starting goalkeeper for his soccer team. Following a strong 8th-grade season, he began to realize that soccer was much more than a hobby shared among friends.

After graduating from middle school, Asa immediately joined the boys’ soccer squad at East Haven High School. As a freshman, he saw sporadic time in net at the varsity level. Now entering his senior year, Asa is the Easties’ undisputed starting goalie and also one of their senior captains.

“When I came in as a freshman, the seniors and the upperclassmen were all really nice. I was friends with them during middle school when I was a little 6th-grader. I got to know them a little bit,” Asa says. “When I came up to the high school, they were really encouraging. My teammates always pushed me.”

Asa admits that it was nerve-wracking when he played varsity minutes for East Haven as a freshman. Asa says there was a difficult transition between playing middle-schoolers to competing against junior and seniors. However, Asa also feels that his freshman year gave him a big “kick in the pants” and showed him that he needed to improve if he wanted to succeed on the varsity field.

So, Asa showed up to every practice that he could. He attended conditioning over the summer. He played in various pickup soccer games in order to hone his skills. As Asa was improving his goalkeeping abilities, he noticed that he was gaining more and more confidence in the net.

“The biggest improvement for me was my confidence as a goalie,” says Asa. “As a freshman, you see all these big players and you sort of just hunker down and get scared. Now, I don’t feel that way anymore. I sort of just grew out of my shell.”

Prior to Asa’s junior season, Mike Papantonio was named the head coach of the East Haven boys’ soccer team. Papantonio says that Asa improved his play throughout the year and displayed all the traits that he wants to see in a leader.

“Asa is the consummate teammate. He shows up to work every day and sets a good tone for the other kids. He has been a pillar of consistency for going on two years,” says Papantonio. “Asa made significant strides. As the season progressed, he grew into the role and was able to command the team from the goal. His confidence grew and his assertiveness grew.”

Heading into his senior season, Asa was named one of East Haven’s captains alongside fellow senior Matthew Torres. Asa was pleasantly surprised to find out that he would be leading the Yellowjackets on the pitch this fall.

“I was really, really happy; stunned, too,” Asa says. “There’s a lot of good players on this team, and to have coach pick me out of all of them was just a great honor.”

Asa feels that one of his best skills as a goalie is his ability to make decisions on the fly. If a ball is coming down the sideline, Asa likes making a split decision on how he should defend the opposition’s attack.

As he enters his senior year, Asa wants to continue his upward trajectory by stopping as many shots as he can, while keeping a strong line of communication with his teammates both on and off the field. After high school, Asa plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering in college.

Asa never expected to be East Haven’s starting goalkeeper, let alone a captain of the varsity team. However, Asa worked hard to earn both of those roles and loves leading the Yellowjackets as their last line of defense.

“It’s been quite the journey. There’s been some good points. There have been some hard points where I thought I couldn’t make it and I pushed through it,” says Asa. “In 6th grade, I probably wouldn’t see myself as a senior starting goalie. But now that I’m here, I can definitely see how I made it this far. What a great journey it has been.”