Sports Person of the Week
Skonieczny’s Happy to be Healthy for Her Junior Year
Rising junior Ella Skonieczny worked her way back from an ACL injury and is ready to make key contributions for the Hand girls’ soccer team on defense this year. (Photo courtesy of Ella Skonieczny )
Ella Skonieczny’s parents signed her up to play soccer when she was in preschool, because it was a sport that they thoroughly enjoyed. It didn’t take long for Ella to fall in love with soccer herself.
“I think that once I was in kindergarten, I really found that I loved the sport,” says Ella. “It became a space and time where I could express myself, as well as challenge myself.”
Now a junior at Daniel Hand High School, Ella is a defender who plays the center back position for the Tigers’ girls’ soccer team. After suffering an ACL injury last year, Ella feels glad to be back on the field and is anticipating a strong season this fall. Ella says that being sidelined for her sophomore year showed her just how much she loves the sport.
“My ACL injury, even though very difficult to deal with both physically and mentally, I believe was to my benefit in the long run,” Ella says. “Not only have I found a deeper passion for the game of soccer that I have never felt before, but during this time, I have found that once something is taken away for you for a long period of time, you either find that you can’t live without it or you don’t need it. I found that I need it in my life.”
Ella worked hard to return to action while enduring a long rehabilitation process following her injury. The fact that she had to sit out last season has Ella chomping at the bit to hit the pitch.
“Having it go for more than a year and having to recover, heal, and train my body and mind to get back to the game makes my return that much more special,” says Ella. “During my recovery process, I have found in myself a strength that I never knew I had, but also a realization that I can do really hard things.”
Even though she couldn’t play her sophomore season, Ella has still made the most of her time with the Tigers. One of Ella’s favorite moments came when Hand defeated Pomperaug on penalty kicks in the Class L state quarterfinals during her freshman year.
“I loved this game, and most especially the end of the game during penalty kicks, because we were working so hard to continue in the State Tournament and had put all our efforts toward this game,” Ella says. “I can look back at this game and see the grit and hard work it took to win. That particular game represented the team that we are: hardworking, team-spirited, and determined.”
Ella is also a member of the girls’ track program at Hand. However, soccer remains Ella’s main game, and she’s been preparing for upcoming season by working with her CT Rush team throughout the summer.
“I train and condition with them after the fall season is over,” says Ella. “Particularly this summer, I have been training with some of my teammates in small-group training sessions.”
The Hand girls’ soccer team will have new head coach on sidelines this fall as Rob McConville, an alum of the boys’ soccer squad, takes the helm for the Tigers. It didn’t take long for McConville to see the traits that Ella brings to the field.
“If I had to choose one word to describe Ella, it would be focused,” McConville says. “Ella gets to the conditioning sessions early, prepares, and leads by example with a high work rate.”
Ella says that she’s looking forward to playing for Coach McConville. She’s also eager to help the tight-knit Tigers advance as far as they can in the 2020 campaign.
“I am very excited to play for him and the girls’ soccer program. I think that he is an excellent coach and will take our collective talents as a team to the next level,” Ella says. “Our team motto is, ‘All out. All game. All season,’ and, together, I believe that we can achieve great things.”