Alyson Peluso, Kingston High School Physical Education Teacher and Athletics Coach, has experienced a season a coach can only hope to have. Not only is her soccer team undefeated, but she has had a full eight weeks of practice, games, teamwork and… a new family. It seems normal for a sports team to work hard and win games, but the Boys Modified Soccer team proved to be a very inspiring group of young gentlemen this season; one that made Coach Peluso want to share her experience with the community.
The modified soccer team is made up of 20 middle school student-athletes who come from very different backgrounds. Some teammates’ families are from other countries dealing with language barriers, some have academic challenges or medical responsibilities to overcome in order to play, while others make up a mixture of different backgrounds. They all come together on the field for one purpose: to be the best soccer team they can be. “We have students working through academic challenges, and we have teammates who speak other languages at home, yet they all come together and help each other, every day. They are really more like family.” The team holds each other accountable and helps one another in times of adversity.
In her third-year coaching soccer, Ms. Peluso realized her team, in many ways, is a small representation of the Kingston City School District; very diverse. She believes that the differences among her team are what unites them. She didn’t know she would walk away from her season feeling extra proud of her players just for being themselves. “It’s magic,” she said. “The magic that these guys have with each other is unreal. I’ve cried happy tears a few times.”
We often hear stories about differences tearing people and groups apart, but it’s heart-warming to know that differences can also bring us together.