After Sam Charette made a few visits to UMass Lowell for soccer camps, she knew she wanted to be a River Hawk.
When the university recruited her, it didn’t take long to decide it was the right fit and she made a verbal commitment. Charette, who is one of the Hamilton-Wenham’s five captains for the coming season, still has one more year left to excel for the Generals before moving on to college.
“Sam’s ability to win the ball and keep it is her biggest asset,” said H-W coach Alvi Ibanez, who turned the program around last season in his first at the helm, going from 5-9-2 to a playoff contender with a 15-2-2 record. “Sam has both size and quickness. I’ve been watching her play at the club level since she was 10-years old, and she’s got it all.”
Ibanez, who was an NCAA All-American at Salem State and former professional soccer player for the Boston Storm, took over the Hamilton-Wenham program a year ago and made some key changes. He uses a system that employs two central defenders (and allowed just 0.3 goals per game last year), and Charette plays a key role in the defense as of the central defenders.
“She’s like a point guard in basketball back there,” said Ibanez. “Sam does a great job bringing the ball up the field. They say a good offense starts with the best defense. Sam wins the ball, gets possession in the back and brings it up so the offense can go to work. Once she has the ball it is very tough to take it away from her.”
Charette combines both brains and athleticism on the pitch.
“She’s six-foot-one and uses that great height advantage to win a lot of air balls. She handles a lot of the high stuff in front of the goal and has Division 1 speed and quickness,” said Ibanez. “The best thing is her game IQ. Sam really understands the game, and I’m so glad I have her one more year before she goes on to a great college career. I’m glad she will be playing for a D1 program around here so I can see her play.”