Crisci Happy to be Back on the Field with the Easties
Julia Crisci didn’t intend on returning to the East Haven girls’ soccer team this year after sitting out last season. Julia was planning to focus on her schoolwork while preparing for the ice hockey season, but her plans changed after Head Coach Jake Hackett reached out to her in August. Now, Julia is once again competing for the Easties in her senior campaign.
“It was getting to be too much to focus on the soccer schedule,” says Julia. “But my coach texted me asking to come back, and the girls welcomed me back with open arms.”
Not only did Julia return to the Yellowjackets in a pinch, but she also embraced a position change on the pitch. Julia has shifted from outside defender—where she played in her freshman and sophomore seasons—to the middle of the field as a senior.
Julia’s presence has helped fortify East Haven’s defense following some big losses from last year’s team due to graduation. The Yellowjackets recently collected their first win of the 2022 season by shutting out Career-Hillhouse 6-0 last week.
“I kind of already had a vague idea of what I’d be doing,” Julia says of her new position. “Two center defensemen graduated, so [Coach Hackett] asked me to step up. I embraced it.”
Julia’s selfless attitude has spread throughout the program and is one of the main reasons why Coach Hackett was so intent on bring her back into the fold. The Yellowjackets are a young club that features just four seniors and several other key players who are just getting their first significant action on the varsity level.
“She said she wanted to be a part and put in the work that we asked her to do,” says Hackett of Julia. “She’s the type of kid that will do whatever is needed for the team. That was what we needed.”
While East Haven has gone through some growing pains this year, Coach Hackett sees a team that is persevering on the field. Hackett is hoping that the lessons the Yellowjackets are currently learning will pay dividends in the not-too-distant future. With her high school career winding down, Julia shares that sentiment.
Julia says that East Haven’s main goal is to “get a couple more wins on the board” as the team plays through the second half of its season. However, no matter what happens between now and the finale, Coach Hackett appreciates how Julia has stepped up and taken on a new role for the benefit of the team. Hackett realizes that things would be a lot different for the Yellowjackets without Julia’s steady presence on the pitch. The Easties have been making incremental gains over the past few weeks, and Hackett knows that Julia is playing a big part in their progression.
“She’s stepped up pretty big. She was willing to take a position that’s a tough spot,” Hackett says. “She was willing to put in time and effort to grow and learn. I couldn’t ask for more from what I’m seeing of her.”
Julia, who has played soccer since she was 6, carries that same mindset over to the ice and has a great passion for hockey. The lessons that Julia has learned in both sports have helped her become a better all-around athlete, as well as a valued teammate. Earlier this year, Julia earned All-Southern Connecticut Conference Second Team honors as a member of the Hamden-East Haven-North Branford co-op ice hockey squad.
“I think I like hockey a little bit better, but I definitely enjoy soccer a lot. I’m hard-working and very focused when I’m on the field or on the ice. I just do whatever I can to help the girls,” Julia says. “Both go hand in hand, where it’s the same concept of trying to find the open spaces. It’s really helped with hockey when the puck gets caught in my skates or something, just having that skill.”
Julia will have a swift transition between the soccer and ice hockey seasons. Julia doesn’t plan on playing soccer beyond high school, so she’s going to make sure that she cherishes the next few weeks with the East Haven girls’ soccer team. Julia has experienced countless memories and made everlasting friendships throughout her tenure with the Easties.
After opting to not play soccer as a junior, Julia realized how much she missed the sport. Even from afar, she would often check in on the team’s progress. That wasn’t always easy, but now, Julia feels glad to be back where she belongs.
“It’s just been really great with the girls and everything,” says Julia. “The team’s just bonded. It’s going to be different next year, not having that.”