Sports Person of the Week
Russo’s Love of Soccer Leads to Strong Bonds, Positive Memories
Megan Russo has been a fixture on the soccer field in North Haven and beyond for several years. Megan is currently a junior who plays the midfield for the Indians’ girls’ soccer team. (Photo courtesy of Megan Russo)
Megan Russo is on the soccer field throughout the year, and it’s been that way for quite some time. Megan started playing when she was six, moved through the ranks of the North Haven Soccer Club, and then joined the team at the middle school. Now, Megan is a junior at North Haven High School who’s competing for the Indians’ girls’ soccer squad.
“I’ve been playing with a lot of these girls since I was little, and I enjoy the bonds you make and all the memories,” Megan says. “Having that bond helps with chemistry on the field, helps you get better as a team, and work together better toward whatever your goals are.”
While playing for the middle school team, Megan decided to join a Premier team, as well. She’s been playing with Ginga FC out of Hamden for the past five years. Megan has enjoyed a lot of success with the program, winning a regional title in 2015 and back-to-back state cups in 2015 and 2016. Ginga FC, which travels throughout New England for tournaments, claimed the state cup again earlier this year.
“We play year-round, except during the high school season,” says Megan. “Everyone is there to work together to achieve our goals, and the tournaments bring you closer together and help everybody trust each other.”
Having played with Ginga FC since she was 10, Megan has formed great relationships with her teammates. Megan says that her coach, Everson Maciel, is a big influence on her.
“He has led us to a lot of victories and great memories,” Megan says. “He watched us go from 10 year-olds to teenagers. Going through that transition is incredible, but it’s so cool to have someone looking out for you and guiding you every step of the way like he has.”
Megan also spent several years with the North Haven Soccer Club, playing in the program through 8th grade. When she got to the high school, Megan saw some time with the varsity squad as a freshman, including a few starts, while also playing for the JV team. She started out as an outside defender before moving to the midfield.
While the Indians got out to a slow start this season, they have been playing better of late and are looking to have a strong second half to their campaign.
“Our scores don’t show how we’re playing,” says Megan. “We’re working on trying to improve our game day by day and doing our best to still make it into states.”
Megan is a midfielder for the Indians and enjoys helping out on both ends of the pitch. Megan has scored two goals so far this year and is the designated player who takes penalty kicks for Head Coach Gary Collins’s squad. Last week, Megan buried a clutch PK to help North Haven notch a 3-3 tie with Branford.
“Megan is a hard worker who brings a lot to the team. She’s a good dribbler, she’s consistent, and has a sense of knowing how to get balls across the goal, and she does that very well,” Coach Collins says. “Megan is a good teammate and understands what is required to be a successful high school player. She brings a lot of positives to the team to give us strength, and her teammates enjoy playing with her and working with her.”
Megan has been close with her North Haven teammates since she began playing soccer. While growing up, she played up an age group and competed for the same team as two of her cousins—Erika Holle and Katie Chieffo—who are now seniors on the high school team.
Megan was excited to join her cousins on the Indians when she started high school. The stands are typically filled with people from Megan’s family during North Haven’s games.
“It’s incredible, because all of your family shows up to support you. It’s family on the field first, and everything revolves around that,” Megan says. “It’s really cool when everyone—my aunts, my uncles, grandparents, mom, dad—is there supporting you and seeing our improvement as a team.”
Megan is still involved with soccer even when she isn’t playing. Megan and her cousins coach rec teams in the North Haven Soccer Club, where she also helps out as a referee.
“It’s so fun to hit an age where you go back and see where you were and where it started,” says Megan, who also works in the afterschool programs at Ridge Road School with her aunt. “You see them when they’re small, inexperienced players, knowing one day they’ll be in your spot.”
Although Megan hasn’t finalized her college choices, she knows that she would like to stay somewhat local. Megan says that she would also like to continue playing soccer in college if the opportunity arises.
“I’d love to play during my college years,” says Megan. “I’ve made high honors since middle school. It’s about work ethic. You’re a student before an athlete, so I take my work first and sports after. Because I love sports, it inspires me to do my work better.”
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .