By Meredith Church
GROTON — After spending five seasons with Fitchburg State University’s men’s soccer, Steve Naboicheck is the new head coach of girls soccer at Groton Dunstable.
Although he will miss the boys at Fitchburg State, he is ready to take on his new coaching assignment.
“I loved coaching those guys and had a lot of fun. I left because it was a full-time job that required a full-time effort It became increasingly difficult after many seasons,” Naboicheck said. “It took too much time away from my family.”
He is already familiar with Groton-Dunstable, having two sons who graduated from there, one of whom played varsity soccer for four yeras.
He has come up with a set of goals. “I want the girls to work together as a team and play good-looking soccer that is competitive,” Naboicheck said.
“I want them to enjoy the game while they have fun and have respect for each other, as well as the coaching and athletic staff of GDRHS.”
He also puts a strong emphasis on the girls’ performance off the field and in the classroom.
“As a former college coach and a parent, I understand the importance of academics,” said Naboicheck. “I try to emphasize to all student-athletes that academics are truly the key to great success.”
To prepare the Crusaders for the upcoming season, Naboicheck has placed a strong emphasis on getting in shape.
“To get ready for the season, I gave the girls a summer workout to follow,” said Naboicheck. “The workout consists of upper body, lower body and core conditioning. I also hope the girls are running on their own time as well.”
Despite being a fairly young team, having only lost a few seniors from the previous year, the team has two strong captains, Dani Kenney and Meg Freiter, both playing midfield positions. They are joined by fellow seniors Cate Cullen, defense; Katie McElearney, forward; Jen Johnson, midfield; Kailyn Rekos, goalkeeper; Erin Smolka, defense; and Caroline Stark, defense.
Both captains are four-year veterans of the girls varsity soccer team. Naboicheck hopes there will be more captains to assist these two seniors once the season gets going.
Both captains are welcoming the season on a high note, after finishing a challenging season last year.
The captains reflected on the highlights they shared with their fellow teammates.
“We won the MIDWATCH B sportsmanship award for the second year in a row,” said Freiter. “This year we are definitely going to make it our goal, not only to win games, but to win them with class.”
Kenney recalled an important victory over North Westborough. “This was the first time we beat them in a long time,” said Kenney. “We ended up beating them 1-0.”
“Meg and I got to sit in on the interviews for the coaches last spring. The team got to meet Coach Naboicheck and he seems like a great guy,” Kenney said
“The only challenge our team will face this season is to find motivation throughout the season and maintain a level of commitment,” Freiter said.
“I want the team to give the best they can and work together,” said Freiter. “My long-term goals for the team are to have a winning season. Last year we weren’t able to accomplish that.
“I’d also like to have the girls’ soccer team to continue to have winning seasons after I leave, even though I won’t be part of the team.”
Kenney shared a similarly positive outlook on the season. “I would like to reunite the team and get more success then we have had in the past,” she said. “I want to keep the team motivated throughout the season.”