Windham seventh graders Jennifer Schwarz and Emily Wardwell began playing together for the Windham Youth Soccer Association when they were both 4 and from that point on, the two formed a bond that has made them very strong players on the field.
“They are a very competitive group of kids,” said Seacoast United coach, Branden Noltkamper. “They want to go out there and win every game.”
Both Schwarz and Wardwell joined the DPL in 2021. The DPL League travels all over New England against some of the best teams in the bracket.
One of the goals of Seacoast United is to play in the Nationals tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio in June. The Summit tournament earned them some points toward qualifying for Nationals, though they won’t know officially if they’ve qualified until the spring season is finished. Noltkamper is confident they’ll qualify for Nationals.
The same was true for Wardwell.
“I was young when I started to play soccer but loved the game and wanted to play at a higher level,” said Wardwell.
According to Wardwell, her communication with Schwarz has improved each season, which is important to defense.
Schwarz said it’s been great working alongside Wardwell. Both their communication and support of one another have improved.
Schwarz is a goalie and Wardwell is a center back.
Noltkamper says both are very strong players on the team.
“Jen’s a leader ... really communicates well; Emily ... plays right in front of Jen and it’s a good relationship for two Windham kids who know each other well.”
It’s Noltkamper’s second year coaching Schwarz and he said she has grown exponentially – her confidence in the game and decision-making skills. She plays through the pressure – this is a huge testament to her success.
It’s Noltkamper’s third year coaching Wardwell and describes her as a silent assassin. She doesn’t have a lot to say, but when she does have something to say it’s important.
Noltkamper said she’s seen a lot of growth in Wardwell. She’s as brave as anyone else and keeps her composure under pressure. She plays a really good style of soccer and plays like her life depends on it.
“It takes a lot of practice and hard work to get to the level I am,” said Schwarz. “It also takes a lot of motivation and self-confidence. I keep going because I really want to play professionally and hopefully be one of the best goalkeepers.”
Wardwell said to get to this level, it takes constant training and a love of the game. Wardwell said she loves playing with her teammates.
“The future of Windham soccer is very bright, especially with these two players coming up,” said Noltkamper. <