When Lely High's girls soccer coach Jonathan Goldberg says Marco Island is his feeder system, he isn't kidding.
"Marco Island, mostly coming through the Charter School, is a very strong feeder system," Goldberg says, "If we can expand that system to other areas, like a baseball farm team, we can build a strong program."
St. John Neumann also has four Marco Islanders and girls coach Ray Grzywinski once tutored soccer in the Marco Island YMCA program.
For Lely, 14 of the 20 players come from Marco Island, starting with its leading scorer in Gabby Lopez.
She and Jill Bitz are co-captains of the team that is 3-6-1, with the Trojans' 2-2 tie coming last week against St. John Neumann.
Marco players include Lopez, Mabel Torres, Molly Boyer, Jade Dworkin, Ashlee D'Angelo, Nicole Colondona, Veronica and Alexis Kochis, Lindsey Schiller, Katy Mechiorre, Katey Hausauer, Nicole Duffy, Lindsey Donato and Sabrina Carrender.
The Celtics have Jenny Aponte, Veronica Arizbaleta, Julia Pericoli and Amanda Miragliuolo.
Goldberg has seen some strong play by many of the Trojans.
"Katy Melchiorre has been playing very well in net, with Colondonna the back-up goalie," Goldberg says. "Colondona also plays a key position as sweeper."
He says the team has played strong on defense, but hasn't been able to put the ball in the net on offense, except for Lopez.
"Gabby runs the offense and is aggressive. She has seven goals so far this season," Goldberg says. "We have good speed, but we don't have size."
Forwards include Donato, Bitz, Boyer, Hausauer and Dworkin.
Midfielders are Lopez, Maria Mateo, Schiller, Alexis Kochis and Hausauer.
Defensively, Dallan Diaz, D'Angelo, Carrender, Erin Zappia, Karina Villanueva and Sully Ramirez lead the way.
The Trojans host Golden Gate in a game at 7 p.m. Thursday and host Fort Myers-Evangelical Christian at 7 p.m. Friday.
Meanwhile, St. John Neumann, 4-3-1, goes for its fifth win at 3 p.m. today, hosting St. Petersburg Catholic High.
Sensational scorer Kelly Tripp, who has scored 97 goals in two seasons, may play.
She has been out for two games with a right leg injury.
"Kelly is an outstanding players, already scoring 16 goals in seven games this season and is only a junior," Grzywinski says. "She could break the 100 mark if she plays today and Friday (at home) against Tampa Bay (Catholic)."
Grzywinski has just two seniors, Aponte and Victoria Bolognese, along with eight juniors, Arizbaleta, Pericoli, Alex Burr, Lauren Daugherty, Lauren Griffin, Guilia Marsico, Lauren Parlier, Jackie Sullivan and Tripp. There are four sophomores, Miragliuolo, Taylor Ocana, Chelsea Simmermon and Holly Young, along with freshmen Marissa Calhoun, Jackie Delgado and Maria Koropoulous.
Key players are Aponte and Tripp at forwards, Miragliuolo, Delgado, Pericoli, Delgado, and Calhoun at midfield and Burr, Young and Ocana on defense, with Sullivan in goal.
"Jackie (Sullivan) has kept us close in tight games and close in games we have lost," Grzywinski says.
"Although we are young I have been pleased with their efforts. It takes time for most players to develop, but they are working well as a team and help each other. Holly is our sweeper and plays a very smart game. We will be competitive and should have a strong team next year."