Building Athletic Spirit: Middle School Soccer

In his third season as the volunteer coach for Mount Madonna School’s (MMS) middle school soccer program, parent Carson Kelly (Zoe, 9th, Indigo, 6th, and Cecily, 1st) remains committed to inspiring his young players to stay focused, play hard, and have fun!

“I like being able to provide MMS with an additional sport for the kids to participate in,” Carson explains. “It is important for kids to wear a jersey with their school’s name on it, and go out and participate on a school-based team. Our team this year has great athletic spirit, coupled with a positive attitude and strong desire to learn!”

Middle school soccer is a co-ed sport, and MMS is pleased to have strong interest from 5th through 8th grade students who want to play. The 2012 team players are: Eleanor Harrington, Jules Barivan, Nico Panzardi, and Sophia Simo, 5th grade; Gracie Howley, Indigo Kelly, Sienna Clifton, Sydney Ota, and Zac Clark, 6th grade; Haley Brandt and Luca Di Grazia, 7th grade; and Elias Nepa, Emilio Herrera, Ethan Harrington, Holden Smith, Lily Petersen, Nat Hsia-Coron and Sophie Ortiz, 8th grade.

In addition to working with MMS students, Kelly’s experience includes eight years of coaching recreational D3 and D1 level soccer. With this current team, Kelly says his top goals for the season are to play hard and have fun, while getting the team ready for the next year. The team will lose a number of very talented 8th grade players next year, including Nat Hsia-Coron, who Kelly says “does not stop going after the ball from start to finish.”

Next year’s team will be likely be comprised primarily of 6th and 7th graders, who will have to compete against 8th-grade dominated teams. With this in mind, it’s possible that practices will begin earlier next season, though scheduling is weather-dependent.

One hurdle the soccer program has overcome – and quite smoothly, too – is finding a suitable playing field, something MMS doesn’t have. This year, all practices and games are being hosted off-site at Good Shepherd School in Santa Cruz. While this has created the need for some extra logistical coordination (namely transportation), Kelly acknowledges with great appreciation team parent Komala Correos, MMS Transportation Coordinator Yamuna Fernandez, athletic coordinator Benna Lovato, and the many parents who have stepped up to help with carpooling.

Despite very stiff competition, the team continues to work hard to improve, and savored their first season victory  last week in a game against Good Shepherd.  In the lastl two games this week, the Hawks tied with Salesian in their game on Monday, and won their final game on Wednesday against Kirby , 3-0! 

Way to finish strong Hawks! 


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Marketing & Communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.


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