The Official Site of Jersey Shore Boca Jr. FC

Fuccello an immediate asset to Boca team – Brick Township Bulletin
July 26, 2007

Brick Bulletin Sports
July 26, 2007

Fuccello an immediate asset to Boca team

Helps squad reach its first region title game

Staff Writer

Jessica Fuccello of Brick, coming off an outstanding freshman season at the University of Pennsylvania, was not about to sit out the final weeks of the summer after playing on her Player Development Academy team that lost to Virginia on penalty kicks in the regional finals.

So she followed the lead of three former teammates of hers at Brick Memorial, especially good friend Sara Conway, who is playing at Monmouth University, and joined the Jersey Shore Boca U23 women’s team.

“I was at my brother’s [Justin’s] game [for the Boca open men’s team] and saw Sara Conway, who is on Boca’s women’s team, and the coach talked to me about the team and he asked if I could play,” said Fuccello. “I figured I might as well since PDA’s season was finished.”

The Boca team is glad she did. The talented forward played superbly as Boca went 1-1-1 in the United States Adult Soccer Association U23 region championships in Oakford, Pa.

Fuccello, who usually is modest about her play despite finishing as Brick Memorial’s second all-time scorer two seasons ago, admitted, “I thought I did OK, like I usually try to. The whole team meshed really well together.”

Fuccello scored the goal in the opener, a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Wildcats. Fuccello took a pass played through the defense, dribbled around the goalie who had come off the line and fired the ball into the open net in the first half. Boca then played to a scoreless tie with East Chester, Pa., and lost its final game by a 1-0 score.

The team this weekend resumes its schedule in its maiden season in the Mid-Atlantic Summer Showcase, where it is 3-3-1.

“I have known Jessica and the Fuccello family for some time now. We are delighted that she is joining us for the rest of the summer,” said Walter Konopka, a member of the Jersey Shore Boca board of directors who also oversees the Boca U23 summer programs. “Jessica is a very special player and a pretty strong attacker who has played at the highest of levels. She will certainly help our women’s team for the remainder of the season.”

Fuccello brings to the program a winning attitude and a knack for finding the goal that comes with playing on three straight state championship teams in high school and a superb freshman season at Penn.

A two-time Ivy League rookie of the week, she was also a two-time Elite Team of the Week selection as a freshman. Her nine goals were the most by a Penn freshman since 2001 and earned her second team All-Ivy honors and a spot on the freshman team. Her goals also were No. 7 on the team’s all-time single season list.

Two of those goals came in the final 11 minutes against Brown in a 2-2 tie. She assisted the tying goal and scored the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Two days later, she scored the goal in a 1-0 victory over East Carolina. Fuccello also had the lone score in a 2-1 loss to Harvard, assisted the goal in a 1-0 victory over Cornell, and scored twice in a 3-0 triumph over Lafayette.

Her five assists tied her for the team lead and hiked her point total to a team-high 23, sixth best on the team’s single season list. She was second in the Ivy League in goals and points and fourth in assists. Fuccello played every game and started 11 as Penn was 8-5-3.

“Playing for Penn wasn’t too bad; the Ivy League was more competitive than I thought,” said Fuccello, as she finished up her week as an instructor at the Brick Memorial Mustang Soccer Camp last week. “It was very comparable to PDA. Every team is playing to win and out there killing each other.”

Playing in a 4-3-3 formation that differed from Brick Memorial’s 3-4-3 flex formation, Fuccello said the “college game is a little faster than high school. All the players were recruited as the best on their high school teams. In high school some play for fun, but in college everyone plays to win.”

Fuccello said she felt the players on Penn worked well together and are looking to improve that aspect even more for next season, and she and the midfield connected very well.

“Usually I was the target player, but the coach wants me to take on the defense more,” said Fuccello. “They know our offense is pretty good at distributing and want me to be a little more selfish.”

Sounds like what Fuccello heard in her playing days at Brick Memorial, despite her 96 career goals. She’s been working on it in seven-on-seven leagues at GoodSports in Wall and in Sea Girt this summer.

Brick Bulletin Sports
July 26, 2007