All Jack Nogueira had to do each day is look at the wall in his office at St. Joseph: six All-Americans and one National Player of the Year in 19 seasons as head coach.
In season No. 20, Nogueira added a seventh All-American and second National Player of the Year: Jessica Mazo.
Mazo, a center-midfielder for the Cadets, earned the award courtesy of the United Soccer Coaches Association. She becomes the fifth in state history to earn the honor, joining former teammate Jenna Bike (2015).
“When Jenna Bike got it, this is something that people with her talent get it. I didn’t picture myself getting it,” Mazo said. “This is more than cool. I’m still trying to grasp it all.”
Mazo, a Bridgeport resident, had 17 goals and 12 assists this past season for St. Joseph. This is her third straight season earning All-American laurels.
“For the last four years, she has been the heart and soul of our program” Nogueira said. “How she practiced how she played, she was the motor of our teams. In four years she won three state championships. As she got older, her role changed into more of a dominant role “
She teamed with Bike at the forward spot as a freshman, then manned the center-midfielder role thee last three seasons.
“I’ve worked so hard every day all season, to get this makes it all worthwhile,” Mazo said. “I love playing the sport. This gives me a little bit of confidence to be able to handle it at the next level.”
Mazo has signed a National letter of Intent to play for UConn next fall.
The other three state National Players of the Year were Kristine Lilly of Wilton (1986), Vanessa Pruzinsky of Trumbull (1998) and Kia McNeil from Avon (2003).