2006-08-25 / Sports

Roberts Scores Points In All Facets of Life

By Elio Velez

Courtney Roberts (right) goes up for the ball as she is elbowed by a Hudson Valley defender in the Empire State Games. Photo by Paul Leone.
Courtney Roberts (right) goes up for the ball as she is elbowed by a Hudson Valley defender in the Empire State Games. Photo by Paul Leone. Courtney Roberts was excited to be invited to the Empire State Games, which brought together the best athletes from throughout New York State to compete in various sports in Rochester last month.

She had every right to compete with the athletes that were selected as part of the New York City girls' soccer team. Her goal scoring ability and her evolving overall talent were some of the reasons why she was selected to be one of the starting eleven on the field.

It was her second goal in the 59th minute of New York City's 2-0 win over Hudson Valley to capture the bronze in the girls' soccer competition that capped off an impressive week of action. For the 18 year old who is about to attend American International College in Massachusetts as a freshman this fall, the bronze medal would end a high school season in which her game grew leaps and bounds.

Sports have come quite naturally for Roberts. It's easy for her to spike the ball for her school volleyball team or score and rebound for the Legends' basketball squad.

As adept at sports as well playing the clarinet, it would turn out that soccer, for which she had little playing experience with the sport until her junior year that has eventually resulted in the most successful venture in her athletic career.

"I played it in the playgrounds and in the parks when I was younger, I wanted to try it out," Roberts says.

With little experience even playing competitive soccer, Roberts still bagged 16 goals in her junior year in 2004.

The ability to score goals came quite often last year in the PSAL 'B' soccer division for the Rockaway native. She was a whirling dervish in her senior campaign at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. By scoring 25 goals and putting the team on her back to qualify for the playoffs, the small school would qualify for the postseason only after they had created a soccer program in 2004. Roberts has handled the game with quite aplomb. At times dominant inside the PSAL, she had to go through an adjustment when she was selected to play as a forward with

New York City's team in last month's Empire State Games in Rochester.

The level of her opponents was quite higher and more physical than Roberts has seen in PSAL and her Bayside club soccer team. Though she can score goals, the key was to use her athletic talent to become a distributor and lead the attack on the pitch.

An tall girl soccer wise, her slight build was the reason why defenders tried to be physical to knock her off her game. As much as soccer is physical, the game is decided psychologically. The confidence cannot be lost on the pitch. Because she had to be the main scoring option for Frank Sinatra, the approach had to be altered in playing with her teammates who could also get the ball past the opposing goalkeeper.

In her first game, she assisted on three straight goals in a 5-0 rout of Central New York.

"I had to change my game. I usually have to score but I had to hold the ball and look up and set up for my teammates," Roberts said

Not afraid of trying something new is what has made her successful in many facets of her life. Roberts will bring that approach to college in which she aims to major in communications. She will try to become a writer and focus on one aspect that used to be a love of hers. Poetry.

"I used to write as a little kid but I stopped. I saw my friends writing it in school one day and I started up again. It's become a passion of mine."

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