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AYSO forges friendships

Posted: August 29, 2010 7:07 p.m.
Updated: August 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Alex Cuervo, 4, left, and brother Brandon, 2, of Newhall, ride the two-seat swing ride.

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At the heart of the whirling rides and giddy atmosphere of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) Saugus Region 46 opening day carnival was an undertone of community and friendship. The event, which also allowed AYSO players to get their official pictures taken, was held so children and parents alike could have a good time, said assistant commissioner Jackie Ferialdi.

“This is a day for the kids,” she said. “It’s all about soccer.”

The event marked the start of the season for Region 46, although the first games will not be played until Sept. 11. Proceeds will go toward funding the program.

Attractions included several bouncy castles, rock walls, food vendors and carnival staples such as a Ferris wheel.

The pleasant weather and cordial atmosphere allowed attendees to connect with friends and teammates.

Such was the case with Katie Dalessandro and Renee Rosas.  The 15-year-olds met three years ago while playing on the same team.

“Soccer brought us together,” Katie said. “We met through tournament, and now we’ve become really good friends.”

“Me and Katie just have the same personality,” Renee said. “We just like to go out and have fun.”

However, the soccer-born bond will now be tested: The friends are on opposite teams for the season.

“It’s going to be fun to play against her,” Renee said.

Jeff Dalessandro, Katie’s father, noted that throughout his daughter’s 10-year soccer career, the community bonds have stood the test of time.

“It’s a way for families to come together, spend time with each other, share common stories,” he said, “and promote what we feel is important for our kids to do —  and that is to be involved in activities that keep them doing positive, fun, enriching things.”

Likewise, Jacqueline Cascione, 9, and Ember Miller, 8, will be playing side-by-side in the program.

According to Ember’s father and coach, Jeff, the young girls’ friendship was something that came about naturally.

“They’re on a team and they’ve got to work together. They’re going through the same thing,” he said. “The name of the game is to have fun.”

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