Friday, May 20, 2022

Sports Person of the Week

Lucero Found a Home with the Easties


Senior Jocelyn Lucero has been making key contributions for the Yellowjackets’ girls’ soccer squad since transferring to East Haven during her freshman year. Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Lucero

Senior Jocelyn Lucero has been making key contributions for the Yellowjackets’ girls’ soccer squad since transferring to East Haven during her freshman year. (Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Lucero)

Jocelyn Lucero got out to a bit of a late start in her East Haven soccer career after transferring to the Yellowjackets during her freshman year. However, Jocelyn has been making a big impact for East Haven ever since then, becoming a varsity starter as a sophomore and continuing in that role through her senior season.

Jocelyn started playing soccer in New Haven’s town league when she was five. Jocelyn’s brother Alejandro and her cousins all grew up playing the sport, and watching them play made her want to do the same. Once she got on the pitch, Jocelyn’s love for soccer continued to grow as she dedicated herself to improving.

“Growing up, my cousins loved playing soccer. They just put me onto it. It was pretty fun,” says Jocelyn. “I enjoyed being able to play with my brother. He taught me everything he knew. I kept learning, and it made me love soccer more.”

Prior to high school, Jocelyn played soccer in the New Haven town league. Jocelyn then started competing for South Central Premier as a freshman and continued until her junior season. By playing as much soccer as she did, Jocelyn continually improved and was always learning new techniques.

At the start of her freshman season, Jocelyn was playing for the Career-Hillhouse girls’ soccer team. A few weeks into the season, Jocelyn moved to East Haven and joined the Yellowjackets, immediately becoming a sub at left wing for the varsity squad. Jocelyn welcomed the challenge of playing the high school level.

“It was much more competitive, which I liked. It made me grow as a player. I loved the competition,” Jocelyn says. “If I don’t get that competition, I’m not improving in anything. There were more players who knew how to play.”

Jocelyn became a varsity starter in her sophomore year and held the same role as a junior. Jocelyn continued starting in her senior year, but switched to the midfield position prior to the season. After having played forward for three seasons, Jocelyn’s move to the midfield saw her take on a more versatile role for the Yellowjackets.

“It’s much different. The past three years, I’ve been a left wing,” says Jocelyn. “It’s a lot more running and less touching the ball, but I was still able to get the ball and pass it, whereas as a left wing, I just had to get the ball and move forward. As a midfielder, it’s more about passing. I get to move around, whereas as a left wing, I was in the same spot all game.”

Jocelyn admits that she didn’t have much confidence in her freshman year as a first-year player on a brand-new team. Once she became a varsity starter, Jocelyn realized that the pressure was now on her to help the Yellowjackets succeed. No matter the hurdles, Jocelyn gained confidence over time and started to believe that she belonged on the field.

“I’ve built up confidence. As a freshman, I felt very low. I didn’t believe I was a good player,” Jocelyn says. “As I grew more, I loosened up. I’d talk more. I felt like I was building confidence. I knew I could play.”

Head Coach Jake Hackett says that Jocelyn has been a strong contributor both on and off the field for the Easties throughout the past four years. Hackett feels proud of Jocelyn for working hard to maintain her varsity role, while always lending a hand to the younger athletes on the team.

“In her four years, Jocelyn has contributed greatly to the program not only with her great skill as a player, but with her personality,” says Hackett. “As a player, Jocelyn has always battled hard. She is also one of the most caring people ever. She is kind and compassionate to all the younger players. Her kindness is unmatched. I am so proud of everything she has done for the program.”

After graduation, Jocelyn plans to attend nursing school and is also considering continuing her soccer career. As she reflects upon her tenure with the Yellowjackets, Jocelyn appreciates all the bonds that she’s formed with everyone on East Haven’s roster, from the freshmen through the seniors.

“I’m very glad I transferred to East Haven High School and for this experience. The coaches knew how to play. They had a great format,” Jocelyn says. “I met some great players throughout the years. We had fun times, but we knew we needed to win. We were having fun and focusing on what we needed to get done.”

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