When Ashlee Fazio joined High Meadow School last year, she was hired to teach Upper School math. But, says Ashlee, “as soon as Susan [Paynter, Head of School] found out I played soccer, she started brainstorming.”

Last spring, a group of HMS students competed in an informal game against Woodstock Day School. Their unexpected win helped spur the organization of a High Meadow soccer team.

“There are a lot of strong soccer players [at High Meadow],” Ashlee says. “There was a call from students who wanted to represent our school.”

Ashlee is Head Coach of the team of 18 students, grades three through eight. They practice twice a week after school on High Meadow’s new, regulation-sized field, with support from parent volunteers.

Many of the participants play on AYSO or travel soccer teams, as well, Ashlee says. “A majority play soccer almost every day. It’s amazing how they’re still so excited to come play!”

Ashlee herself has played soccer since she was four years old, joining recreational, competitive leagues throughout the Hudson Valley. As an adult, “it started to become a serious stress reliever,” she says, a place to focus on building skill, as well as enjoy the experience of being part of a team.

“There’s so much that comes from being a good teammate – collaboration, leadership skills, communication – especially in the culture around soccer.”

By the end of the season, she says, “I hope every kid has grown their skill set, and also their confidence, on and off the field. [I hope] they build solid friendships they may not have had otherwise, and are excited to share High Meadow soccer with other schools and other communities.”

Keep an eye out for details about the team’s upcoming game against Woodstock Day, which will take place in October!