The Lynn Youth Soccer Breakers girls team is paying tribute this season to the Sandy Hook Elementary School students and staff members who were killed in a tragic incident on Dec. 14, 2012 at the school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Tim Phelan, head coach of the Breakers and president of the Lynn City Council, said the 16 Lynn players on his team will be wearing Newtown Soccer Club patches on the left sleeve of their uniform jerseys. Each member of the team also wrote an essay about the lives of the Newtown students.
Amy Mangold, director of parks and recreation for the town of Newtown, learned of the special tribute and thanked Phelan and the players who are high school students at English, Classical and St. Mary’s, for their thoughtful and kind gesture and show of support during a time of healing for the Newtown community.
“It’s been very healing and helpful in more ways than can be described just to see the support we’re getting from all over the country and the world,” said Mangold. “These are very difficult and trying times and to see that support really helps us to move forward. It’s very sweet to hear that the Lynn Breakers are doing this and I hope that it helps them feel some healing as well because I think the whole country is suffering and needing to feel that they’re doing positive things.”
Phelan said each player selected one of the Sandy Hook students and wrote a biographical essay that was read at a team gathering Saturday night at his home.
“Our players were very enthusiastic about participating in this tribute to Sandy Hook,” said Phelan. “It shows what is important in life. This is a great group of kids representing the city of Lynn.”
Rachael Roy, a junior at English, said she was touched by reading stories about the lives of the Sandy Hook students.
“Just reading the biographies about the kids and how they loved math and singing and playing sports and they’re just so little and it’s all gone now,” said Roy. “I wrote an essay about Noah Pozner. He loved rainbows, reading, playing video games, and being happy. His twin sister survived. His older sister is eight and they were inseparable. He loved everybody. He was just a fun kid.”
Rebecca Potter, a junior at Classical, said reading about the kids opened up her eyes to a lot of different things.
“I think our supporting the kids and wearing the patches for the Newtown Soccer Club is great because it’s putting it out there and showing that people do care and know and acknowledge what happened and what went on,” said Potter. “I wrote about Ana Marquez-Greene and Allison Wyatt, who were both six years old. Ana loved dancing. She danced everywhere she went. She always had this energetic life and she loved to sing. They conducted her funeral exactly how she celebrated life. Learning about that celebration of her life made me sentimental and happy.
“If you met Allison, she affected your life in a positive way. She always had a smile on her face. She would make you laugh. She loved to read and loved math.”
Rachel Hanlon, a junior at St. Mary’s, is proud of her coach and her team “for doing a really good tribute” to the Newtown elementary school students. Hanlon wrote an essay about Jessica Rekos.
“I wrote how Jessica really liked horseback riding and for Christmas her parents bought her real cowboy boots because that’s what she really wanted,” said Hanlon.
Hanlon said she has discussed the Newtown tragedy with her mother, Marie, who is a Lynn Police officer.
Ed Miles, vice president of Lynn Youth Soccer, commended the Breakers for their tribute to Newtown.
“It’s a nice tribute to Newtown and anything we can do help them is great,” said Miles. “It’s a sad situation. We’re proud of our girls for this expression of goodwill and kindness.”