Soccer season ends with real kick

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:45

    SPARTA-A group of Sparta boys is kicking its way to the top of the area's soccer rankings. The group under the name of Jersey Celtic Fenian Bhoys (Gaelic for warrior), is a Mid-Atlantic Premier Soccer (MAPS) team and recently finished second in the state and 6th in the region.  In November 2004, they were finalists in the New Jersey National Championship and they lost in overtime. Despite the loss, Fenian Boys' Kyle Plifka from Sparta was voted MVP by the referees of the game. Their second place statewide comes in the wake of other accomplishments. Back in April, they were the winners of the Metro Stars Cup and got to play at Giants Stadium. Former Irish professional player Pete Kelly is the team's trainer and coach. He recruited players from all parts of New Jersey to form his 14 & under team. Eight out of the 15 players that comprise the team are from Sparta.  For Kelly and his pupils, the training is use to more than just improve the players' soccer skills. "I teach them to respect the referees, the other players and themselves. I tell them to play for yourself, there's nothing better than playing for yourself," commented Kelly in his strong Irish brough. "If I didn't coach these guys, I'd go to watch them play because they play with so much heart. It's exciting because even when they don't play well, they're still hustling." According to Kelly, the players look out for each other both on and off the field.  "If they know one of the players is low on his confidence, they will pass him the ball to make the shot instead of taking the glory for themselves only to boost their teammate's confidence," said Kelly. "There's something special here, you don't find this.  I don't have the best players, but I have the best team. Every player thinks of someone else as the best player on the team."