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Senior captain midfielder Victoria Meeker guided the East Haven girls’ soccer team to its first postseason berth in several years this fall. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Meeker )
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Victoria Meeker has gained a lot of confidence as a result of playing soccer in East Haven through the years. Victoria’s confidence was on display this fall, when she led the Yellowjackets’ girls’ soccer squad as one of its senior captains. Victoria also led the Easties to a record of 7-7-3, helping them secure their first berth in the Class L State Tournament in several seasons.
Victoria moved from North Haven to East Haven when she was nine. Victoria’s cousin, John Gildersleeve, helped her get involved in the East Haven Youth Soccer program. Since that day, she’s continued to grow within the game.
“He helped put me on a team when I was nine, and I stuck with it. It helped me through everything,” says Victoria. “Everything I know [about soccer] is all through him. Soccer has really helped me with my self-confidence and getting to know people.”
Victoria has played just about every position on the soccer field. Ultimately, she found her home as an outside midfielder with the Yellowjackets.
“It’s all about having the right mindset and understanding positioning,” says Victoria. “I’ve been told I’m able to understand the game and what is going on. I can anticipate things, so that helped me always be in the right position.”
Second-year Head Coach Jake Hackett selected Victoria as one of his senior captains this season. Hackett was impressed with how Victoria always put her team first. He notes a preseason scrimmage against Hopkins as a prime example of Victoria’s selflessness.
“We played a full game and then another half with the JV players. Unfortunately, due to injury, JV didn’t have enough players, so I had to ask a varsity player to play in the JV game. Victoria was not only the first to volunteer, but wanted to play, and gave every absolute effort in that game...To me, that is truly what a leader looks like,” says Hackett. “Victoria was an amazing captain as she was compassionate to her teammates, kind, and willing to help her teammates both on and off the field. She did whatever was necessary for the team.”
At first, Victoria felt a little out of her comfort zone in her captain’s role. However, she settled into it quite nicely, became a little more vocal, and enjoyed leading the Easties on the field.
“For my entire career, I was one of the quiet kids. Even on the field, I was quiet. But this past year, during conditioning and during games, I stepped up and changed how I would play and communicated more with my teammates,” Victoria says. “Being one of the captains helped me gain a better understanding of my teammates. I was able to help them more than normal. It was definitely an honor. I was very excited when I heard about that. I was happy to lead my team and bring everyone together.”
Although Victoria isn’t going to pursue soccer in college, she’s planning on playing in East Haven’s women’s league. Victoria had a great time during her senior year with the Yellowjackets and wants soccer to remain a part of her life.
“This year was the best year, team-wise. We were all together and got along,” says Victoria. “This year, there were no issues, and everyone was happy to be with each other. That helped us on the field.”
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