Thursday, January 21, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

DiVerniero Works Her Way Up the Ranks

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Aimee DiVerniero climbed the ladder to become a starter and a captain for the East Haven girls’ soccer squad. Photo courtesy of Aimee DeVerniero

Aimee DiVerniero climbed the ladder to become a starter and a captain for the East Haven girls’ soccer squad. (Photo courtesy of Aimee DeVerniero )

Aimee DiVerniero joined the East Haven girls’ soccer team in her freshman year, mainly playing JV in her first season with the program. As a sophomore, Aimee was out to prove that she deserved a spot on the varsity squad. With her senior season approaching, Aimee has lived up to that promise by battling past adversity to become both a starter and a captain for the Yellowjackets.

After playing in a few varsity games as a freshman, Aimee told Head Coach Jake Hackett that she was ready to contribute full-time at the varsity level in her sophomore year. During that offseason, Aimee, a defender, spent a lot of time working out and competing in East Haven’s recreational league, determined to show everyone that she belonged on the varsity field.

“Going into sophomore year, I was getting ready for conditioning, and I was at every practice, always committed,” says Aimee. “I wanted to train hard and show coach that I could be a very valuable member of the team, and that I could put in the work and be varsity level. I think he noticed that in me.”

As she prepared to take a step forward as a sophomore starter, Aimee had to deal with a setback when she suffered a foot injury early on that year. After getting x-rays, Aimee learned that she had broken a bone in her left foot and was going to be out for the entire season.

Despite her injury, Aimee wanted to remain a part of the team and continued to attend East Haven’s practices and games. As she rehabilitated from her injury, Aimee was looking forward to getting back on the field for her junior campaign.

“As I watched all the games and went to all the practices, I listened to everything coach was saying to the rest of the team, and I took it in,” Aimee says. “When I came back, I was still learning and still growing. As soon as I could play again, I played for East Haven’s rec league, and I played the indoor season with coach John Gildersleeve. I wanted to put in the extra work, so I was stronger than ever my junior year.”

Aimee made her return to the field as a junior last year, helping the Yellowjackets post a record of 7-7-3, while qualifying for the Class L State Tournament. Aimee was also named one of East Haven’s captains in her junior season. Coach Hackett had saw how hard Aimee worked while she was sidelined and knew that she would be a great choice to lead the team.

“I choose the captains and pick them based off of a bunch of different things. Being leaders on and off the field is key—motivating the girls, helping the girls, and caring for your teammates. Aimee is a great example of all of that,” says Hackett. “She’s the most caring teammate on and off the field, a fierce competitor, and a leader.”

Aimee started playing soccer in East Haven’s youth league when she was eight. Aimee was inspired to give the sport a try by her cousin Kate Weisner, who received a scholarship to play soccer at Penn State and is a member of the U.S. Olympic women’s U-17 soccer team. As soon as she stepped on the field, Aimee fell in love with soccer and knew that it was the right sport for her.

“Soccer is more of a contact sport. It’s a lot of work. I enjoyed being on the field playing and being surrounded by good positivity,” Aimee says. “Playing against other teams and being competitive is really what drove me to keep going.”

Aimee has played defense throughout her soccer career and likes being the last line of defense in front of the goalie. Aimee feels that her best attribute on the field is her communication skills and says that she’s always comfortable instructing her teammates from the back line. Entering her senior year, Aimee wants to keep growing alongside her fellow Yellowjackets and help the team advance deeper in the State Tournament.

“My goal is to grow stronger and become a better player. I want this team to make it further in states. I want us to win,” says Aimee. “Coach said that senior year, this is the year people are going to be looking at us. We weren’t always the strongest team, and I think this year we’re going to come in very strong, and we’re going to get further than we have in a while.”

After graduating from East Haven, Aimee is hoping to continue playing soccer at the Division III level. Aimee would like to stay local and has been viewing Albertus Magnus College as a potential landing spot.

Soccer has become a focal point of Aimee’s life during the past decade. It means a lot to Aimee that she persevered through her injury to earn a starting spot with the Yellowjackets. Aimee says that she’s learned many life lessons as a result of playing soccer in East Haven.

“You have to learn certain qualities. You have to learn sportsmanship, leadership, communication, and team bonding,” Aimee says. “You spend the most time with your team. You’re always making new friends and building new relationships. You have to learn how to be a team player.”


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