A group of amazing people who accomplished a lot so far in their young lives, but there comes a lot of frustration with this class with regards to their soccer careers. All of them possessed high college level talent and one member had professional opportunities, but all of them either suffered career ending injuries well before their time or coaching mismanagement led to a premature end to a promising career. We take solace that they all became amazing, accomplished, and encouraging individuals.
Class of 2006 Academic Award Winner: Kristen Bell (Newcomer)
Kristen Bell (Newcomer)
Undergraduate: Rollins College Carnegie Mellon University University of Tennessee
Graduate: Texas State University
Kristen joined the Academy as a 14 year old high school Freshmen. She started for her high school varsity team at Seneca Valley all four years. She was All-Conference, All-County and All-Met in high school. Most importantly, she was an honor student and National Honor Society member. As a club soccer player, Kristen was one of the best goalkeepers in Maryland for her age. Her club team - Bethesda - played at the highest level of what was then the best girls league in the country - WAGS. Her team made it to a state final four. Most impressively, Kristen was the starting goalkeeper on the Super Y-League Potomac team that won the North American Championship while she was playing up an age group. Kristen exemplifies positive character by volunteering for charity work in places like Africa and other areas of need. Kristen started her college career at Rollins College where she was in the honors program and earned starting minutes. After two years at Rollins, she transferred to Carnegie Mellon University where she enrolled in one of the best Astrophysics programs in the world, while playing for the school. She transferred for the challenge of higher academics and better soccer. Unfortunately, serious injuries ended Kristen's college career prematurely. After injury ended her career, she married and lived with her husband in Knoxville, Tennessee while attending the University of Tennessee. She finished her undergraduate degree at Tennessee in Geology and then she moved to Texas. She earned her Master's Degree from Texas State University in Fluvial Geomorphology. Kristen started her own business 19 Paperlane (www.19paperlane.com) where she does paper cut art and design. Her biggest job is taking carer of her two sons.
Undergraduate: St. Francis College
Paul joined the Academy as a 14 year old when he was considered one of the best goalkeepers in the country. Paul attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. Paul was a four year starter at the school. He was three times All-Conference, All-Met and finished his last season winning the Washington, D.C. private school championship. Paul had a hugely successful club career winning the Maryland State Cup three times, winning a Regional Club Championship and making an appearance in the US Club Nationals. His Potomac team was considered one of the most talented in the club's prestigious history. In the days before Academy programs, Paul played for DC United Super Y-League team, playing up in age group one, two, and three years. Paul earned a spot in the Super Y-League Regional and National Pools. Paul was a seven year member of the Maryland State ODP team. He also earned a spot on the ODP Region I Pool. After high school, Paul turned down several college offers to play in the French 4th Division for the Jarville JF club. After considering possible offers to play professionally in Brazil or college for several national powers, Paul chose to attend college and play for St. Francis College in New York City. Paul played for two seasons at St. Francis where he was the starter. After two seasons, Paul decided to focus on his academic career. He made the difficult decision to leave soccer and devote himself to the English department, where he has a near perfect grade point average in the honors program for writing. Paul has established a great career for himself as a writer in New York City
Michelle McConnell (Burton)
Undergraduate: Harford Community College Stevenson University
Graduate: Stevenson University Harford Community College School of Nursing
Michelle became a member of the Academy way back in 2001. She was one of the hardest workers in the Academy history and managed to maximize her abilities to achieve so much. Playing for her North Harford High School team, she was named All County her junior and senior year. She also set school records for most shutouts, fewest goals allowed, best goals against average and best save percentage. All this was done at a historically weak soccer school. During that time, Michelle was named Baltimore Sun Athlete of the Week. Michelle played club for the Chesapeake Nightmare. They were in the top division of the top league in the Baltimore area. After high school, Michelle went to Harford Community College where she was one of the best goalkeepers in the nation for Junior College. After her first season, she was named Tournament Player of the Game after she led her team to the Conference playoff championship and on to the Junior College National Championship Tournament. The team finished seventh in the nation and Michelle was listed as one of the top 20 goalkeepers in the nation. The next year, Michelle led her team to the Conference Championships. After her time at Harford Community College, Michelle moved on the Stevenson University in suburban Baltimore. She played for Stevenson one year and then decided to retire from soccer. Michelle graduated with a degree in paralegal studies and a Master's Degree for forensic studies. She then decided on a career as a Forensics Nurse. She currently attends Nursing school. She is married and settled in Pennsylvania with her husband and her daughters.
Despite being 5' 6", Jesse Sfetsas had the biggest personality, is one of the funniest, and was one of the fiercest competitors of any member in the Academy's history. Jesse was an early member of the Academy and also played on one of Edward Brown's first club teams. Jesse moved from that Baltimore club team to a regional powerhouse Bethesda team. That was the same team that Academy One members Will Swaim and Andrew Lyons-Berg later helped to numerous state championships, regional championships and multiple appearances in the US Youth Soccer Nationals. He played in back-to-back Maryland State Cup final fours and was dominate in tournaments around the region. The team was always on top of what was then the best league in the nation: the National Capital Soccer League. Jesse was a two year member of the Maryland Olympic Development state team. Jesse played Super Y-League for the Chesapeake Dragons in the days before Academy programs. Jesse played his freshmen year of high school at Havre De Grace High School. Havre De Grace High School was one of the poorest soccer programs in Maryland history at the time Jesse arrived. As a freshmen starter, Jesse AVERAGED 28 saves a game!! He set a state record for saves per game and saves for a season that may never be broken. He once made a ridiculous 50 saves in a game!! For his tireless play, Jesse was named 1st team All-County as a freshmen. Before his second season, Jesse transferred to Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore. After a year of playing midfield while sitting behind a high school senior, national team keeper, Jesse planned on taking over the starting varsity keeper position in the best private school conference in the nation. In a sad turn of fate, Jesse was a passenger in a very serious automobile accident that left him unable to play high level soccer ever again. Jesse's rehabilitation from injury took years, but he was able to finish high school. Despite his injuries that still persist, Jesse studied at Pennsylvania College of Technology where he studied Civil Engineering. He then moved to Colorado where he studied Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Jesse still remains very active and has focused his energy into mountain biking, automotive mechanics and restoration, and he is a highly accomplished snow boarder and snow boarding instructor.