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Players of the Week: BPS girls basketball

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 16, 2012 12:35 PM

The girls basketball stars were nothing short of exceptional in their week one debut.

Takora McCyntire, Fenway: One of coach John Rice’s top players this season is surprisingly only a freshman. The guard was unstoppable in her first week on Varsity and lead the Panthers to two victories, 74-33 against South Boston and 77-0 against East Boston where she scored a total of 30 points and 10 assists.

Joseline Posada, New Mission Although only a freshman, this guard is one of the most dedicated players on the team with a great attitude.

“She shows exceptional leadership and poise on and off the court,” New Mission coach Brianna Forde said. “Joseline may not be my most experienced player but she accepts the challenges of a new team, sport and environment.”

Sara Centeio, Charlestown: This former soccer star turns out to be an even better basketball player.

The senior guard is not only Charlestown’s leading scorer but also has the most positive attitude, according to Coach Alexandra Ventura. She has lead her team to its current 2-1 record all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Krystal Edwards, Madison Park: This senior guard has wasted no time in her first week back on the court. Her outstanding defense lead her to a 43-point game against South Boston. She also learned that she was offered a four-year academic scholarship to Union College this week.

Brenda Calderon, Burke: At only 5 feet and 4 inches, this senior guard knows how to hold her own on the court. Despite losing 57-21 in the Bulldogs’ season opener, she lead the team to most of its points. She scored 8 overall and plans to make sure her team is ready for CASH on Tuesday.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Burke defeats Charlestown, 12-0, in boys' soccer

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 16, 2012 06:51 PM

The only win for the Charlestown boys' soccer team was in the first week of the season, against South Boston, and coach Tim Meho was hoping that Tuesday would be the second victory as he enthusiastically pumped up his team before it took on Burke.

Yet as soon as the Bulldogs took the field, it was clear that Charlestown was destined to struggle, and the match ended 12-0.

“Today was tough, as usual,” said Meho. “But we can’t get the whole team here every day. I’m constantly working with new players.”

Charlestown's lack of consistency showed, as Burke senior forward Prince Collins scored within the first five minutes and went on to score three more times.

Burke’s entire roster exhibited intense speed and drive to reach the ball, but that didn’t necessarily please coach Mario Austin.

“We have good individual play and not a lot of team play,” said Austin. “But we’re getting it more, compared to the beginning.”

Yet individual skill kept Burke in the lead. By halftime, the score was 7-0.

Still, Meho encouraged the Townies to forget about the score and play hard.

“We don’t give up,” he told them during halftime. “We play until the end, just like every other game.”

The second half didn’t bring much luck to the Townies, however. As soon as it began, Burke forward Gilson Andrade rushed the goal and scored into the lower right corner.
Altogether, the talented freshman scored four times.

Senior midfielder Danilson Pina was strong on both defense and offense with several takeaways and two goals, one on a header.

The Townies seemed to lose confidence with every goal, even with Meho encouraging them from the sidelines.

“[We need to] just stay together as a team,” he said when asked what it would take to achieve another win. “It’s what you learn more than anything else. I teach them not to give up; life’s not always going to be easy.”

Frustrated forward Kurvan Vidal said his team did not play well and was upset with the score. However he knows what the team needs to work on and plans to address it next practice.

“It’s going to take a lot of things,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of players willing to rush the ball, pass better and play harder.”

Despite the high score, Pina agreed with his coach that the Bulldogs need to work harder to improve teamwork.

“We play hard and improve every day,” he said. “We’re going to practice even harder because Friday’s going to be tough."

Burke will play at East Boston Friday at 3:30 p.m. while Charlestown will take on O’Bryant at home Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Week 6: Games to watch in BPS soccer

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 14, 2012 05:25 PM

As the season progresses in the city league, so does the intensity. Here are the games to watch:


No. 1: C.A.S.H. at Madison Park, 3:30 p.m., Monday.

C.A.S.H. is 7-3 in the league, and appears headed for the city tournament. They beat Snowden, 4-1, and Latin Academy, 1-0, and coach Ian Glaude said his boys are looking better than ever.

Madison Park beat East Boston, 4-0, this week and ended its undefeated streak in the city. That leaves the Cardinals as the only undefeated team in the league. If C.A.S.H. can change that, they’ll be a front-runner in the city championships.

No. 2: Boston International v. Dorchester, 3:30 p.m. at White Stadium, Monday.

Boston International had a great week with a strong 10-2 win against West Roxbury on Wednesday. The Lions feature many forwards with super speed and strength. It’s because of them, that the team’s record is 7-2.

Dorchester is 9-3 and the Bears also had a fantastic week with two shut outs; 7-0 against Boston English Tuesday and 6-0 against West Roxbury on Friday.
Both teams are strong in all areas of the field and pretty equal in skill, making this match a toss up.

No. 3: O’Bryant v. West Roxbury, 3:30 p.m. at Millennium field, Monday.

The usually strong O’Bryant suffered a tough week. They were shut out in all three games, 3-0 against Wayland Saturday, 7-0 versus Brighton Tuesday and 6-0 against Burke on Friday. The always positive coach Ian Doreain expects the team to have a much better week, starting with West Roxbury.

West Roxbury’s week was also disappointing. They lost 10-2 against Boston International on Wednesday and 6-0 to Dorchester on Friday.

Doreian feels the Tigers need three more wins and a tie to qualify for the city championships, and they’re counting on West Roxbury for one of them. Both teams will come in strong to prove that they’re postseason contenders, ensuring a heated match.


No. 1: O’Bryant vs. New Mission at Reservation at 3:30 p.m., Thursday.

The top two teams are going head-to-head this week.

New Mission lost its undefeated record in its match against Latin Academy, 1-0, last week. They haven’t lost confidence, however, and shut out South Boston, 3-0, Thursday.

O’Byrant has only one loss as well, but to suburban Mt. Alverania. They shut out Snowden, 7-0, this week which means that the Tigers are still undefeated in the city league.

Both teams have great skill and only one loss. As the top two in the league, it’s hard to tell who will come out on top.

No. 2: Latin Academy vs. Dorchester at Franklin Field #2 at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday.

Dorchester has had quite a recovery. After suffering five losses in the beginning of the season, the Bears have had a complete turnaround since. They shut out Burke 3-0 on Tuesday and tied Brighton, 2-2.

Latin Academy had a similair week with a shut out and a tie. The Dragons dominated Boston English, 11-0, on Wednesday and tied East Boston, 0-0, on Friday.

While Dorchester has been doing well, Latin Academy is a top contender in the league with a lot of suburban experience. This match looks like it’s in Latin Academy’s favor, but Dorchester hopes to pull off the win.

No. 3: East Boston at Minuteman at 3:30 p.m., Monday.

Eastie has been having a great season with a 8-2-1 record. While the team is strong, the Jets have lost every time it has played in the suburbs; 5-0 to Everett and 7-0 to North Quincy.

Minuteman won't be an easy win for East Boston, as it has a strong roster and a 9-2 record.

All of the BPS girls soccer teams have had a hard time in matches outside of the city. If the Jets can earn a win against a Suburban opponent, it will be a boost for all city teams heading into the MIAA postseason.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Week 6: BPS soccer players of the week

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 14, 2012 05:05 PM

The stars have only been getting brighter as the city championships are just two weeks away. Here's a look at the players that shined this week.


Marc Thebaud, C.A.S.H.: C.A.S.H. was desperate for a new goalkeeper this season. While Thebaud had always been a midfielder, he stepped up for his team. Coach Ian Glaude said he’s been fantastic and has played a big part in its 1-0 win over Latin Academy last week.

Mendel Moise, O’Bryant: While O’Bryant had a tough week with three losses, this senior defender never gave up. Coach Ian Doreain said that this is his first full year playing soccer and he continues to play well in the back.

Guy Charlot Destin, Dorchester: This week was the best week yet for the senior sweeper and captain. The strong defender was flawless, playing through the entirety of the Bears’ two shutouts against Boston English (7-0) and West Roxbury (6-0.) He also had a goal in the first and an assist in the second, all from the back.

Adilson Alves, Boston International: This junior dominated the field this week in the Lions’ game against West Roxbury. His speed and fancy footwork paved the way for one header and three additional goals, all within 10 minutes.

Mahmoud Hayek, West Roxbury: This goalkeeper never gives up, shown by the Raiders’ match against Boston International this week. The Raiders had many impressive shots on goal and Hayek stopped 16 of them in the 10-2 loss.


Jessica Martinez, Burke: Martinez is Burke’s best forward. While the team has yet to win its first game, she never gives up no matter what the score is. She also had two impressive goals in the match against Charlestown that ended 2-2.

Angelina Machante, Snowden: Coach Wade Wall calls her a star forward who continues to improve with each game. The Cougars lost all three, but Machante scored the only goal of the week against Boston International on Friday, ending 4-1.

Janiel Gordon, Charlestown: Gordon had her best week yet with her first hat trick in the 5-1 win against C.A.S.H. on Tuesday. She also scored on a penalty kick against Burke Thursday which tied the game 1-1.

Coach Conor Treacy called her a key member of the team with excellent natural ability.

“It is easy to forget at times that she is only in the 10th grade,” Treacy said. “She has the potential to become a very talented soccer player. She will continue to be a key player for Charlestown over the next couple of seasons.”

Mirlande Philogene, Dorchester: The senior midfielder was a key player in the Bears’ 3-0 shut out against Burke on Tuesday. She scored two goals within the first 15 minutes of the game.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

English conquers Charlestown, 38-8

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 12, 2012 08:32 PM


Boston English running back McCray Keylin is chased by Diallo Ibrahima. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

Boston English dominated Charlestown in its 38-8 victory Friday at Saunders Stadium. English, now 3-2, scored every time it had possession of the ball and thwarted all of Charlestown's attempts until the Townies managed to score in the fourth quarter.

“We did OK,” said English coach Chris Boswell. “We hit some of our goals today, but we had penalties we didn’t want, some turnovers. The kids played well and everyone got in the game. Everyone on the team played, so that was awesome.”

On English’s opening drive, the Blue and Blue powered downfield and scored their first touchdown on a 41-yard run by senior running back Daquawnn Gunter with a successful 2-point conversion by junior quarterback Dhe’Jour Relerford.

After a three and out by Charlestown, English once again found the end zone with 1-yard run by sophomore running back Keylin McCray.

A 21-yard touchdown in the game’s only pass attempt from Relerford to junior tight end Ruben Pena-Sanchez made it a three-touchdown game and Relerford tacked on his third successful 2-point conversion.

Relerford added a six-yard running touchdown in the third quarter and Gunter stepped in for the 2-point conversion.

English scored again on a 5-yard touchdown run by senior running back Francis Okoyo.

Charlestown got a measure of redemption in the fourth quarter when quarterback Ibrahima Diallo took advantage of English's more relaxed defense.

Relerford agreed that his team’s confidence got a little too high and it’s not something they can afford to continue doing.

“We need to improve on blocking,” he said. “Also staying strong, we thought we would win and slacked up on defense. Then look what happened, they ended up scoring.”
Diallo ran for a wildly impressive 70-yard score for Charlestown’s only touchdown – and his first rushing touchdown. Junior running back Marcelo Holliday scored the 2-point conversion.

“My first running touchdown felt good,” Diallo said. “I think we did better than last game, we’ve just got to come out and have a stronger overall game and not just perform better with every score. We’ve got to work on offense and defense and go harder in practice.”
Charlestown coach George Munroe said that while the team can definitely improve, he was just proud of the way they played.

“Some guys turned the corner,” he said. “They’re fighting together more, they’re communicating more. The communication started today. They’re not only talking now, but listening and understanding each other.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Week 5: BPS soccer players of the week

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 7, 2012 11:43 AM

A new month brought even greater performances by the city soccer stars.

Boys stars:

Troy Fredericks, Latin Academy: The freshman forward put the seniors to shame against CASH on Friday. He made sure he was open at all times and helped out on defense when necessary. He also had great control of the ball which helped set up the two goals scored.

“He’s coming up and showing the older ones how to play,” coach Dennis Allen said. “I was very happy with his performance yesterday and I think he has earned a starting spot.”

Elmer Ventura, East Boston: Somerville brought an end to East Boston's winning streak, but that doesn't mean the Jets didn't play their best. Not only did Ventura lead the team to 9 wins thus far, he scored two goals and three assists against Latin Academy on Thursday.

Lizandro Noguiera, Brighton: This junior forward had an outstanding week. He had an assist in the Bengal’s 9-1 win over Dorchester as well as 3 goals in their 8-0 shut out against Charlestown on Friday.

Ildo Pires, Boston English: Coach Edmar Varela called the junior his best defender and counts on his performance every week. The Cape Verde native is well-conditioned, disciplined, and sets a great example for his team.

“He chased every play as if it was his last,” Varela said of his performance last week.

Heroldans Limage, Dorchester: This freshman took over the role as keeper this season and has been impressive. The Bears lost 3-1 in a thrilling game against Brighton, but Limage had 12 saves.

Girls stars

Lovelyse Bienamie, Dorchester: Dorchester received a blessing last week in the form of a sophomore forward from Boston International. The newbie debuted with a bang and scored both goals in their 2-1 win against Charlestown on Tuesday. The first goal was during the first half, after a cross from senior midfielder Merlande Philogene. The second came at the end of the thrilling second half. The game was tied until Bienamie scored in the last 15 minutes of the game.

Helina Gurmessa, Brighton: This freshman surprised everyone this week, even coach Bridget Driscoll. The forward scored three of the four goals in the Bengals 4-1 win over Boston English. Not only is she new to the game, this was the second match she's played this season.

Monique McPherson, West Roxbury: Although West Roxbury has yet to win its first game this season, coach Edmar Cayemite applauds senior forward Monique McPherson for keeping the team motivated. She also scored the only goal in Thursday's 6-1 loss to New Mission.

Sara Centeio, Charlestown: Despite missing the first two games of the season with paperwork issues, this forward has recorded six goals and two assists in the five games since she's returned. The Townies suffered a tough 5-4 loss to Snowden on Thursday, but Centeio had a hat trick.

"She works very hard both on and off the field," coach Conor Treacy said via email. "Her GPA of 4.34 demonstrates her standing as a model student-athlete."

Brittany Brancato, East Boston: The Jets' city record is 7-1, mostly due to this exceptional keeper. She's had six shutouts this fall, two of them against Burke and CASH 7-0 last week.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Dorchester shuts out Charlestown, 32-0

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 5, 2012 08:04 PM

The Charlestown football team fought hard on its home field against Dorchester in Friday afternoon’s game, but it wasn’t enough. The undefeated Bears conquered the Townies, 32-0, thanks to stars Robinson Cyprien and Dale Cooper.

“I think we all played OK,” said Cyprien, a senior. “We had a couple mistakes, but at halftime, we talked it over and went in as a team.”

On the Bears’ first possession, they drove 77 yards for a touchdown. Junior quarterback Demetrius Leary threw a 32-yard pass to senior Arrik Bell for the score. Cyprien also made a run for the 2-point conversion but was unsuccessful.

He scored again in the second quarter, capping a 65-yard drive with a rushing touchdown from 4 yards out. The 2-point conversion was successful this time, by Cooper.

On Charlestown’s first possession of the second quarter, it had the ball on its own 5, and the Dorchester defense forced a safety, which brought the score to 16-0.

Cooper also had a 20-yard run touchdown with a successful 2-point conversion by junior running back Hakim Harris, also in the second quarter.

The Bears couldn’t be stopped in the second half, either. Already up, 24-0, Cyprien made an extraordinary kick return at the very start. His 80-yard return was the result of good blocking up front.  He had a 4-yard touchdown run for his third score of the day.

Despite the shutout win, Dorchester coach Rich Moran was not happy.

“I wasn’t pleased at all,” he said. “I don’t think they played well and we had too many penalties. Even though you’re winning, you don’t want your team to play like that, so I’m very disappointed to be honest with you, even though we won.”

Charlestown coach George Munroe also didn’t think his team did very well, but for different reasons.

“We’re a very young team,” he said. “The line is young and we’re still learning. But if you don’t want to feel the pain, you don’t come to play.”

Charlestown junior quarterback Ibrahima Diallo believes the team has what it takes to make his coach proud, however.

“I think I can get better,” he said. “We need more practice so we can work together as a team. It’s not a one-man effort, it’s a team effort.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Week 4: Games to watch in BPS soccer

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff September 30, 2012 08:10 PM

If you liked week three of the city soccer season it will only get better as we look ahead to this week, and maybe with sunny skies.

Boys games:

No. 1. Latin Academy at East Boston, 3:30 p.m., Thursday.

Despite having a young team, East Boston is playing with confidence. Even coach Lorenzo Di Benedetto thought they’d have trouble Saturday beating suburban Malden, a team full of Greater Boston League-tested seniors. Although the Jets are young they clearly have great skill, as they came out victorious, 1-0.

They aren’t undefeated, but Latin Academy also gets stronger by the week. The Dragons tied O’Bryant Tuesday but defeated South Boston, 5-1, Thursday and even Dedham, 5-1, Saturday.

The competition will be fierce with Latin Academy looking to end East Boston’s flawless record.

No. 2 O’Bryant at Madison Park, 3:30 p.m., Tuesday.

O’Bryant also continues to conquer, even outside of the city. They tied Latin Academy 2-2 Tuesday, shut out Snowden, 3-0, Thursday and blanked Revere, 3-0, Saturday. Coach Ian Doreian commented that his forwards played hard all week and that won't change Tuesday.

Madison Park has been the team to beat for the past three years. Since they’re undefeated this season, it looks like things haven’t changed much. With O’Bryant on a winning streak, however, it just might.

No. 3 C.A.S.H. at Randolph, 3:30 p.m., Wednesday.

C.A.S.H. has one loss this season, its first match against Latin Academy. Since then they’ve improved with two wins this week, 4-1 on Tuesday against South Boston and 2-1 on Thursday against Charlestown.

Randolph has three losses, but suburban teams are known to be competitive. We'll see if C.A.S.H. can pull off another win outside of the city, like O’Bryant and East Boston did this week.


No. 1 New Mission vs. Latin Academy at Reservation Field at 3:30 p.m., Monday.

New Mission continues to thrive in the city. Although both contenders played hard they were no match for New Mission. New Mission beat Burke Wednesday 3-0 and Brighton Thursday, 2-0.

Latin Academy also has been doing well in the city, but things changed when they played in the suburbs. The Dragons lost to North Quincy, 8-0, on Wednesday, but shut out Snowden, 7-0, the day before.

Latin Academy definitely learned from their disappointing experience with North Quincy. It’s likely they’ll have a few new tricks for New Mission on Monday.

No. 2 C.A.S.H at East Boston at 3:30 p.m., Monday.

East Boston shut out Charlestown, 5-0, on Tuesday and Dorchester 3-0 on Friday, but suffered a tough loss to Everett Wednesday.

C.A.S.H. has been having a rocky season, but shut out Madison Park on Wednesday, 6-0. Coach Amy Offret is confident the team will channel their new-found confidence in Monday’s match against the Jets. C.A.S.H. could be a new team to watch with a win over the Jets.

No. 3 Brighton at Madison Park, 3:30 p.m., Friday.

Brighton was on a winning streak in the past week, but undefeated New Mission put an end to it this week, 2-0. It was a tough loss for Brighton, as they were looking to retrieve their former title as the strongest girls team in the city league.

Madison Park had a disappointing week as well. They lost to C.A.S.H, 6-0, on Wednesday, but coach Adelina Da Silva still thinks her team has what it takes to beat Brighton. We’ll see if the recent losses affect their play this week.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Week 4: Standout plays in BPS soccer

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff September 30, 2012 06:17 PM

It was another strong week in BPS soccer, with impressive plays for the both boys and girls teams.

Boys' action:

Latin Academy

Latin Academy played South Boston on a soggy Saturday and freshman forward Vilder Joachim played a big role in its 5-1 win. In the second half, Joachim picked up the ball on the right corner and powerfully struck it into the left corner, low to the ground.

“I’ve been begging them to keep the ball low,” coach Dennis Allen said. “This was one of those [plays] where the execution was what I had been asking them to do.”


O’Bryant had a great week. They dominated Revere, 3-0, Saturday, beat Snowden, 3-0, Thursday and tied Latin Academy Tuesday. Sophomore David Lopera had two goals this week, but one, coach Ian Doreian says, was exceptional.

“He shot from 18 yards down,” he said, “and just absolutely buried it.”


Brighton played only one match this week, Tuesday against Burke, but coach Adrian Kawuba called it the most exciting of the season.

By the end of the first half, Brighton was down, 3-1. Their confidence didn’t waiver in the second half however, as Rossel Cacho scored from a powerful cross from senior forward Gustavo Silva. Cacho added a second goal later.

“It was the best goal I’ve seen in awhile,” Kawuba said. “He headed the ball in. I don’t know how he managed to get the ball into the corner. It was unbelievable.”

Sophomore Vinicus Cordeiro also had a fantastic goal from 35 yards out off a free kick that ended up being the game-winner for Brighton, 4-3.

East Boston

Last Friday East Boston went to the suburbs in a match against Malden. They won 1-0 in a game that coach Lorenzo Di Benedetto called “clean and well matched,” But one play stuck out.

Freshman forward Sebastian Toro scored the only goal after picking up the ball 30 yards out. He passed all of the defenders and rushed the goalie, who saved the ball at his first attempt. He went in for the rebound and tucked in a beautiful goal.

Girls action:

Madison Park

Madison Park shut out Burke, 6-0, Friday thanks to many fantastic plays. Senior forward Heidymara Gomes executed a beautiful goal from the middle of the field after an assist from senior forward Dulcelina Tavares.

“They’ve played together for a while, since they were freshmen,” coach Adelina Da Silva said, “So they know each other well and make beautiful plays.”

Even a defender had a goal against Burke. Senior Ashley Chavez recovered the ball from Gomes and scored all the way from Madison’s side of the field.


Even though Dorchester lost to O’Bryant, 7-2, coach Allison Cohn is proud of the way her team played. The first goal was by senior forward Mirlande Philogene, after recovering the ball with her head. She then dribbled up past the defenders and scored in an impressive shot to the right corner.

East Boston

This week East Boston’s power was in its underclassmen. Forward Mariah Roberts showed great skill in Tuesday’s 5-0 shut out against Charlestown – and she’s only a freshman. She had an impressive goal in the second half after she passed two defenders, as well as a gorgeous assist to sophomore midfielder Ruth Rivas.


Although Charlestown lost East Boston, sophomore forward Sara Centeio was the most dedicated player on the field. Despite being down by 5 with no subs at the end of the second half, she powered down the field and passed every defender. She couldn’t execute however, as East Boston’s sophomore keeper Brittany Blancato blocked her shot.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Heather O'Reilly makes appearance at Boston SCORES gala

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff September 28, 2012 10:50 AM


Photo courtesy of America Scores Boston

Heather O'Reilly, who won a gold medal with the US Women's Soccer team at the 2012 London Olympics, showed off her hardware at the 2012 SCORES Celebration in the South End. She is flanked on her left by John Maconga, executive director America SCORES Boston, and Dwayne Simmons, program director for America SCORES Boston.

The South End was abuzz with soccer enthusiasts of all ages to celebrate at the 2012 SCORES Celebration Thursday night with special guest, U.S. women’s national soccer team star Heather O’Reilly. Students, athletes and Boston public school supporters gathered at the high-energy gala at Cyclorama for a night of soccer activities, poetry performances and food from local restaurants.

The faces of Boston public school athletes lit up as they received pointers from O'Reilly in the kid's clinic that kicked off the event. The olympic gold champion enthusiastically assisted each player in shooting and passing drills and coached them in a scrimmage.

“I've been involved for close to seven years," O'Reilly said. "I fell in love with the program and its uniqueness. I was an education major in college so it sort of blended together everything I find important. When I heard America SCORES was [in Boston] I jumped at the opportunity to help.”

O'Reilly also spoke about competing in the London olympics, signed autographs and posed for photos.

O’Reilly, New England Revolution team President Brian Bilello and New England Revolution broadcaster Brad Feldman spoke about their love of America SCORES and the impact it’s making on students.

“It’s a great organization,” Bilello said. “The fact that they’re combining soccer and education is great. It’s made a lot of sense for a long time for the Revs to be involved.”

After the soccer events, Lael Watson, a fifth-grader at Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, made a poetry performance.

“My poem ‘I Am’ is about where I’m from and who I am,” Watson said. “I’m nervous, but I have a lot of confidence. I’m really happy I was chosen.”

Coach Mark Salzillo was thrilled and grateful that SCORES invited the Orchard Garden School.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to meet professional soccer players and create the idea of soccer at a bigger level for them, because they’re all beginners,” Salzillo said.

The celebration was provided by America SCORES Boston, a non-profit organization dedicated to help urban youth attain life skills, literacy, and health through soccer.

“America SCORES is a very special organization because it gives kids the platform to believe in themselves,” O’Reilly said. “Keep it up America SCORES because you’re doing fantastic things.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.