Linda Costello-Roth is concerned less with winning games just for the sake of winning than she is with getting seventh and eighth graders involved in soccer and developing their skills and competitiveness.
The longtime J. Taylor Finley Middle School girls’ soccer coach had nearly four dozen players to work with this fall and she is pleased with how it all went.
Costello-Roth and assistant coach Ysrael Gonzalez were overwhelmed with the interest in the team this year. They kept everyone who came out for the squad and saw 45 players make it to the end of the season.
The roster included seventh graders Ashley Alay, Gabriela Amaya, Cynthia Argueta Fuentes, Daisy Campos, Sophie Carlson, Kimberly Castro Perdomo, Aylin Davila Chitay, Lauren Donaghy, Anibella Fazin, Ashley Garcia Alvarez, Jamie Garcia Sorto, Isabelle Gregorio, Lily Hotine, Jenna Italiano, Molly O’Brien, Maggie O’Toole, Melanie Rodriquez Valdez, Gricelle Rojas, Asly Santos Campos, Kaylee Smalling, Devon St. John, Hannah Valenzuela-Ayala and Brianna Velasquez Vasquez..
Eighth graders on the team included Angie Amador Martinez, Emma Bellew, Kayleigh Bender, Tess Calabria, Jeiry Chavez Merlos, Veronica Cocoman, Lea DeVoe, Casey DiGoia, Katherine Estrada-Morales, Emerson Evans, Stephanie Flores, Jacqueline Gutierrez, Julia Henderson, Marley Joseph, Jada Joseph, Samantha Koepele, Sophie Lange, Jessica Maixner, Caroline McGreevy, Riley Murtagh, Reese Rinaldi and Yosary Turcios.
“It was a fantastic group of girls,” Costello-Roth said. “The novice players came a long way in skill development and soccer IQ. We will have a very strong core group returning next fall.”
Finley struggled to score goals, finding the back of the net only nine times in nine games. The offensive highlight was a 4-3 win over Deer Park. There were two close games against Elwood and also tight contests with Stimson, Oldfield and Kings Park.
Costello-Roth’s philosophy of keeping and playing everyone that comes out for the team has led to many more girls participating in the sport across the district’s levels. Varsity head coach John Walsh credits her with the explosion in interest, which helped propel the JV team to a superb season this past fall.
Born in Brooklyn, Costello-Roth moved to Huntington in 1970 and attended Village Green School, Huntington Elementary School, Woodhull Elementary School, J. Taylor Finley Junior High School and Huntington High School, graduating with the Class of 1982.
An outstanding athlete at a young age, Costello-Roth played on the Finley volleyball, basketball and softball teams and starred on the boys’ soccer team, since there was no girls’ squad at the time. She continued her sports career at Huntington High School, playing on the field hockey, volleyball and basketball teams. She captained the first Blue Devil girls’ soccer team as a senior.
The Huntington alum earned an undergraduate degree in business management at Hartwick College in Oneonta and a graduate degree in special education at Long Island University-C.W. Post College.
Currently Huntington UFSD’s chairperson of special education, 7-12, the veteran educator began her teaching career at Finley Middle School in 1992. Costello-Roth obtained a state administrator’s certificate in 2003. She’s coached boys’ and girls’ soccer, tennis, lacrosse and volleyball at Finley and field hockey and lacrosse at the high school.