California Storm’s Successful 2016 Season
By Zoe Zyta
Jerry Zanelli had another successful year as head coach of the California Storm. His leadership and everything he has done for the Storm along with the WPSL is greatly appreciated. As coach and owner of the California Storm he thanks associate coaches and players that were a great help in the 2016 season.
The associate coaches’ help contributed immensely to the Storm’s successful season. Mo Whitney has now coached for her second year with the California Storm. As a coach Mo was able to assist with her soccer knowledge to help lead the women, along with returning to the field a few games for the Storm. Mo is a former assistant coach at Sacramento State and Fresno State. Keith Coleman was another huge part of the California Storm’s coaching staff. He is a former coach at the University of Pacific. Coach Keith’s tactical advice and strategy was of great assistance to the team. Jamie Howard is the head coach of Jessup University. Coach Jamie has exceptional leadership skills. She has been able to be an awesome leader for the Storm players these last three years. Pedro Leao joined the Storm for the first time this season, coming in as an assistant coach, he is highly appreciated by the team and fellow coaches.
Sissi, is a well-known player of the California Storm. She has brought once again a wealth of soccer experience to the team as a player/coach. Sissi is one of the best ever to play the game and is still able to dominate women half her age. Brandi Chastain was able to play a limited amount of games for the Storm which was a great help. Her playing for the Storm has always brought excitement from fans. It is quite evident the players all made significant contributions. As Jerry has frequently said, “Great players make great coaches.”
This 2016 season in the WPSL we were able to have some incredible international players on the roster once again and also add a couple to the Storm. Sherifatu Sumalia, Ghana National player, was exceptional this season leading the Storm in assists and goals. Jennifer Cudjoe, Ghana National player, had another great season with the Storm due to her awesome skills and will to win. Both were players on the U20 Ghana National team. We also were fortunate to have both Teresa Noyola and Ariana Calderon on our roster from the Mexican National team. Teresa contributed immensely playing full 90 minute games. Ariana was also a great addition who found the back of the net frequently for the Storm. Fiona O’Sullivan is yet another key player for the Storm. Fiona took a few weeks off during the Storms season in order to play for the Irish National team. From Canada we built some more strength in the goal with goalkeeper Zoe Zyta joining the Storm for the season. Alice Broadbent from England came to the team as another addition to being a leader for the Storms defense. Zoe and Alice both play together at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. From Brazil, Tais Cotta was added to the roster.
The California Storm was also lucky enough to have the following returning veterans: Katie McCoy Hardeman, Karissa Garcia, Maggie Bell, Bradlee DeShane, Aleah Kelly, Rachel Bauer, Andi Damian, Tracy Hamm, and Carolyn Greco. The returners contributed to the Storm in a great way. From the exceptional center back Carolyn Greco, to Katie McCoy Hardeman, Karissa Garcia, Andi Damian, and Tracy Hamm added depth and leadership. Also, Bradlee DeShane and Rachel Bauer displayed great defending skills. Aleah Kelly returned to the Storm later on helping finish out the season.
There were new comers to the California Storm roster in 2016. Mikayla Reed, Mariah Powers, and Jayden Montejano were also strong defenders for the Storm. Emily Curry, Elizabeth Hutchison, Tomoko Matsumoto, and Emily Hansen were other incomers who performed well for the Storm. Caitlyn Duval a goalkeeper from Chico State was a very important part to the Storm.
Some long time Storm players on the roster again this year were Laura and Cara Curtin. The twins played in the beginnings of the season. The two left in the middle of the season in order to play for a professional team in Switzerland.
Storm has had a long history of having great goalkeepers. This year there was no exception again, both goalkeepers Zoe Zyta and Caitlyn Duval were the goalkeepers for the California Storm this 2016 season.
Coach Jerry closes with: “The season was a good success for the California Storm because we had both quality coaches and top of the line players.”