Diego Miranda – Coach of the Month of July

Diego Miranda

Diego Miranda is a seasoned professional coach for JA Elite Soccer Academy. He brings passion and experience to his role in nurturing young soccer talent. His journey begins from a budding player in Ecuador to a respected coach in the United States.

Early Years and Education

Diego Miranda’s journey started in Quito, Ecuador. He sharpen his skills in the youth system of DU which is one of the top professional soccer clubs in the country. His commitment and talent paved the way for a major opportunity when he moved to the US in 2004.
He earned a coveted soccer scholarship to Dominican College in New York. There he played NCAA Division II soccer from 2005 to 2008. His contributions were vital in securing CACC Championships from the college during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He showcased his power and talent both on and off the field.
In 2009, Diego graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He demonstrated his ability to balance academic distinction with athletic achievement.

Coaching Career and Achievements

Diego’s coaching journey started in 2014 when he joined JA Elite Soccer. He had U.S. Soccer Federation National ‘F’, 4v.4, and 11v.11 grassroots coaching licenses. He started a mission to deliver his knowledge and passion for soccer to the next generation and young soccer players. He also completed the USSF Coaching Youth Module and had a US Futsal Federation coaching license which showed his dedication to continuous learning.
His approach goes above and beyond technical skills. He also emphasizes physical fitness, teamwork, and mental resilience. Moreover, he is committed to the well-being of his players which is underscored by his First Aid/CPR certification.

Impact at JA Elite Soccer Academy

At JA Elite Soccer Academy, Diego plays an important role in shaping the soccer program of the academy. He aims to deliver a supportive and disciplined environment where athletes can thrive. Additionally, he is focused on improving individual skills and also emphasizes the importance and respect of game and sportsmanship.
JA Elite has seen notable achievements under his guidance. He also makes sure that everyone gets personalized attention to maximize their potential.

Mentorship and Future Goals

Other than coaching, Diego Miranda serves as a mentor and role model for striving young athletes. His journey from Ecuador to the US is an inspiration that hard work and dedication can unlock various opportunities for you in the sports world.
He continues to grow as a coach and explore new techniques and ways to amplify his coaching arsenal. Moreover, he ultimately wants to nurture talent, have a love for the game, and prepare the upcoming generation for soccer stars both on and off the field.
Through his comprehensive approach, he continues to shape the future of soccer at JA Elite Soccer Academy!

Celebrating Excellence: Jeremy Matamis Named First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Jeremy Matamis

We are thrilled to honor Jeremy Matamis as our First County Bank Athlete of the Month for May.  This second consecutive month that a Stamford High School Lacrosse player has received this honor. This the first time we’ve had teammates recognized in back to back months, since we have started the FCB Athlete of the Month in May of 2018.  

Jeremy Matamis, a senior at Stamford High School, is a stellar student-athlete. He is a National Honor Society member with a weighted GPA of 4.70, consistently achieving high honor roll while taking all AP, honors, and University of Connecticut dual enrollment courses. His commitment to academics is truly exceptional.

On the lacrosse field, Jeremy has been a standout player. As a four-year member of Stamford’s varsity lacrosse team and a two-year captain, he has led his team to new heights. This season, he surpassed the school’s season scoring record and played a pivotal role in the Black Knights’ historic state tournament victory, defeating Conard 9-8. Jeremy was named Stamford’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2021 and an FCIAC scholar-athlete in 2023. Additionally, he was a three-year member of the varsity football team. 

Jeremy’s contributions extend beyond athletics. He tutors K-5 students at Rogers International School, serves as an editor for Stamford High School’s news publication, and volunteers as a youth lacrosse coach. His dedication to helping others and his leadership skills are evident in everything he does.

Mike Nazzaro, Jeremy’s coach, praises his work ethic, attitude towards training, and teamwork. “Jeremy leads by example, always giving 110% in practice and games. His commitment to his teammates and his positive attitude make him a role model for younger players,” says Coach Nazzaro.

This fall, Jeremy will attend the University of Connecticut to study Biological Sciences, where he will undoubtedly continue to excel.

Jeremy Matamis embodies the qualities we celebrate at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy: academic excellence, athletic prowess, and a commitment to community service. Congratulations, Jeremy, on this well-deserved recognition. We are excited to see all you will achieve in the future!

Celebrating Excellence: Ben Coutant Named First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Ben Coutant

At Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy, we take pride in recognizing the exceptional athletes who exemplify dedication, skill, and sportsmanship. This month, we’re thrilled to announce that the First County Bank Athlete of the Month is none other than Ben Coutant, a standout lacrosse player whose remarkable achievements and leadership on and off the field make him a deserving honoree.

Breaking Records and Leading the Way
Ben Coutant, a senior at Stamford High School (SHS), has made waves in the lacrosse community with his outstanding performance this season. As the leading scorer for the Black Knights, Ben has broken the school’s record for the most points in a season, propelling his team to an impressive 12-4 record. With state playoffs on the horizon, Ben’s contributions have been instrumental in the Black Knights’ success, showcasing his prowess and dedication to the sport.

Commitment Beyond the Season
Ben’s commitment to lacrosse extends beyond the high school season. He is an active member of the CT City Lacrosse team, where he continues to hone his skills and compete at a high level during the off-season. This dedication to continuous improvement highlights Ben’s passion for the sport and his drive to excel.

Leadership and Teamwork
As a captain of the SHS lacrosse team, Ben exemplifies leadership both on and off the field. His coach, Mike Nazzaro, speaks highly of Ben’s work ethic and attitude towards training. “Ben leads by example, always giving 110% in practice and games,” says Coach Nazzaro. “His commitment to his teammates and his positive attitude make him a role model for younger players.”

Ben’s leadership is not just about his performance but also his ability to inspire and motivate his teammates. His dedication to teamwork and his willingness to support and encourage others have been key factors in the Black Knights’ successful season.

Looking Ahead
With state playoffs approaching, Ben Coutant and the Black Knights are gearing up for what promises to be an exciting culmination to an already remarkable season. Ben’s record-breaking achievements, combined with his unwavering dedication and leadership, set a high standard for his peers and future athletes.

We are proud to celebrate Ben’s accomplishments and look forward to seeing his continued success both on and off the field. Congratulations, Ben, on being named the First County Bank Athlete of the Month. Your hard work, talent, and sportsmanship are truly inspiring!

Grant Perconte – First County Bank March Athlete of the Month

Grant Perconte

Grant Perconte has a passion and dedication to his favorite sport of baseball. He embodies the spirit of teamwork and perseverance. When asked what motivates him to excel in baseball, Grant simply answers “My passion for the game and my teammates. We all have each other’s backs.” This camaraderie fuels Grant’s drive to constantly push himself to new heights, both on and off the field.

One pivotal factor in Grant’s journey has been his involvement with BVSA. Under the mentorship of Coach Frank Ramppen, Grant has blossomed into a formidable athlete, both physically and mentally. “Coach Frank has helped me grow into a better player in every aspect,” Grant reflects. “He has made me feel so much more confident in myself.”

Frank had some words of his own when asked about Grant. “Grant is one of the most amazing young players I have ever had the pleasure to work with. His passion and dedication are at such a high level, but what really makes him different from so many other young players is his understanding of the fundamentals and mechanics of the game and his ability to listen to instruction and make adjustments. I often find myself stopping and saying to myself, am I actually going to say this to a 10 year old? I fear that I’m going to teach above his head but I think that’s impossible. It’s amazing! Grant is so deserving of this award, great job Grant.”

Through his years on the diamond, Grant has learned invaluable lessons. “Sometimes things don’t go right in baseball, but if you don’t do anything to change that, it will never get better,” he shares.

When asked about his biggest inspiration in the world of sports, Grant’s answer is unwavering: his father. “My dad taught me the fundamentals of baseball and has been an incredible coach for our team,” he says with admiration.

Looking ahead, Grant’s aspirations in baseball are clear. “I want to play for as long as I can,” he asserts. “I would love to play in college.”

Grante Perconte – March Athlete of the Month

Balancing athletic commitments with other responsibilities is a priority for Grant. “Baseball is awesome, but before I practice, I get my schoolwork done,” he explains. This discipline proves his dedication to both his academic and athletic pursuits.

For aspiring athletes at BVSA, Grant offers simple advice. “My advice is to be confident that you can get better,” he says. “You may not hit the ball 100mph, but step by step you can become the player you want to be.”

Reflecting on his journey thus far, Grant takes pride in his achievements. “My greatest accomplishments in baseball have been with my team when we won States and got to the Regional finals, and when we won the Hudson Valley League.” he says with a smile. 

As Grant Perconte continues to carve his path in the world of baseball, his unwavering passion, coupled with his commitment to excellence, ensures that his journey will be nothing short of extraordinary.


First County Bank Athlete of the Month: Anthony Bozza Shines On and Off the Baseball Field

Anthony Bozza - December Athlete of the Month

In the world of youth sports, few stories resonate as deeply as those that exemplify dedication, talent, and a commitment to community. This December, First County Bank Athlete of the Month, Anthony Bozza, a long-time trainee of Abate Training, encapsulates all these qualities and more.

Anthony’s journey is not just one of personal achievement but also of profound community impact. His non-profit initiative, Pitch In For Puerto Rico, showcases his drive to make a difference through the sport that defines him. The initiative, born out of Anthony’s love for baseball and his deep-rooted connection to Puerto Rico, has been pivotal in refurbishing baseball and softball fields ravaged by natural disasters, providing young players in hard-hit communities a chance to pursue their dreams.

His remarkable efforts have not gone unnoticed. At a sold-out event with 125 attendees, Anthony and his supporters raised $110,000, a testament to the community’s belief in his vision and his ability to inspire action. The funds are earmarked for vital projects, including the revitalization of a baseball field in Adjuntas and offering young talents four-year scholarships to the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School, a breeding ground for the sport’s future stars.

Anthony Bozza - December Athlete of the Month
Anthony Bozza – December Athlete of the Month

Anthony’s prowess extends beyond the realm of philanthropy. His baseball journey, under the diligent guidance of Abate Training, speaks volumes of his commitment to the game. Anthony’s dedication to improving his craft is evident in his own words. In an interview, he shared his driving force, “the journey to try and be the best at what you do can be rewarding.” This mindset is a cornerstone of his success and a reflection of the high-caliber training at Abate Training, where reducing mistakes and enhancing skills are at the forefront of their training philosophy.

The most valuable lesson Anthony has learned through baseball is that “hard work is key.” It’s a principle he applies not only in his athletic pursuits but also in his academic responsibilities and personal endeavors. His ability to balance his athletic commitments with other responsibilities is a trait that makes him a role model for young athletes at BVSA.

“I’m extremely proud of Anthony. What he’s set out to achieve as a young adult and his commitment to the process have been evident not only on the field but also off it. In a world where it can sometimes feel like everyone is out for themselves, Anthony has demonstrated the heart and passion to be there for others. One of the greatest glories we can derive from this life is the ability to help others. It seems like Anthony already understands this and is extending his hands to help at such a young age. I am extremely proud of Anthony and all he has accomplished!” – Mike Abate, Abate Training

As Anthony’s story unfolds, it’s clear that his impact transcends the baseball diamond. His journey is a narrative of passion, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. It’s about hitting home runs not only in games but in the hearts of those he touches through his actions.

Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy and Abate Training are proud to recognize Anthony Bozza as the First County Bank Athlete of the Month for January. His story is a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that sports are not just about competition but also about community, character, and the enduring spirit of giving back.

Join us in celebrating Anthony, a shining example of how sports can be a powerful catalyst for positive change. Here’s to many more home runs, not just on the field, but in every endeavor he chooses to undertake.

Brianna Cardona – First County Bank November Athlete of the Month

Brianna Cardona - November Athlete of the Month

BVSA proudly announces Brianna Cardona as the recipient of the First County Bank Athlete of the Month for November. Her commitment and passion for softball, bolstered by the unwavering support from BVSA, have shaped her into an exemplary athlete. Brianna’s insights, coupled with accolades from her coaches, paint a vivid picture of her impactful journey in softball.

A Significant Milestone

A noteworthy highlight of Brianna’s journey this November is her commitment and acceptance to Western New England College, where she will continue both her academic and softball career. This significant step is a testament to her hard work and dedication, marking a new chapter in her journey as a student-athlete.

Motivation and Growth at BVSA

Brianna draws her motivation from the unwavering belief her family and friends have in her. Over her six-year journey with the Titans, she has valued the around-the-clock access to practice and workout facilities and the welcoming atmosphere at BVSA.

Lessons, Aspirations, and Balance

Softball has taught Brianna the critical importance of mental strength. She acknowledges the game’s mental challenges and is grateful for the friendships and expert coaching she has received. Brianna aims to cherish her college experience, continuing her passion for softball and creating lasting memories.

Balancing athletics with other responsibilities has honed her time management skills, a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. To younger athletes at BVSA, she advises leveraging the supportive community and not hesitating to seek help.

Coaches’ Endorsements

Danielle Simoneau commends Brianna’s infectious energy: “Bri is the one player on the field that you hear no matter the score. She is always pumping up her teammates and yelling words of encouragement. Her presence push her teammates.”

Ashley Simoneau echoes this sentiment: “Bri is a blast to coach. She is a hard worker and an even better teammate. A strong girl who can play anywhere in the field and hit the ball a mile. It’s been such a pleasure to have her in our organization and we’re so excited to watch her continue her journey at the collegiate level.”

Inspiring the BVSA Community

Brianna Cardona’s recognition as the First County Bank Athlete of the Month is not just a celebration of her talents and spirit but also a nod to her bright future at Western New England College. Her journey exemplifies how dedication, support, and a nurturing environment can lead to remarkable achievements in sports and life. Congratulations, Brianna, on this well-deserved honor and your exciting new venture in academics and softball. Your story stands as a beacon of motivation for all athletes at BVSA and beyond.

Aurora Levesque – First County Bank October Athlete of the Month

Aurora Levesque - October Athlete of the Month

Aurora Levesque, a standout talent in softball for the Lady Titans and St. Luke’s Varsity Softball, has been rightfully named the First County Bank Athlete of the Month for October by BVSA. Her journey in sports is a testament not just to her exceptional skills on the field but also to her resilience and determination to excel.

Reflecting on her experiences, Aurora shares a valuable lesson from softball, “You are going to fail more times than you are going to succeed, and that is how you get better as an athlete.” This mindset highlights the importance of learning from challenges, a principle that has been central to her success.

Aurora’s future aspirations are as ambitious as her current achievements. She aims to continue her softball career at the college level and hopes to inspire future generations through coaching. Her dedication to the sport extends beyond personal success, emphasizing her commitment to the growth and development of softball.

To younger athletes at BVSA, Aurora offers profound advice: “Give everything they do their all, whether that is in athletics or academics because the hard work will pay off.” She underscores the joy and fulfillment that come from dedication to sports and academics.

Her coach, Elizabeth “Beezer” Joseph, praises Aurora as “the definition of a workhorse,” highlighting her consistent dedication and recent significant improvements. Beezer notes Aurora’s standout performance, especially her impressive showing at the East Hartford tournament where she hit .556, going 5 for 9 with 2 singles and 3 triples. Furthermore, Aurora finished the fall season with a remarkable .583 batting average, going 7 for 12.

Beezer also speaks highly of Aurora’s team spirit, citing her competitive nature and the respect she garners from teammates. Aurora’s consistent support and unique cheering style make her a valued team member.

Being recognized as the First County Bank Athlete of the Month is a fitting accolade for Aurora Levesque, a reflection of her hard work, dedication, and team spirit. Her achievements, underscored by impressive stats and a strong character, serve as an inspiration to young athletes. Aurora’s journey shows that with passion and perseverance, success in both sports and life is within reach.

Noel Vargas – First County Bank September Athlete of the Month

Noel Vargas
Noel Vargas

Along with our sponsor, First County Bank, we take pride in recognizing exceptional young athletes in our community. This September, we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on Noel Vargas. Noel, a junior at Stamford High School and a standout player for U18 JA Elite Football Club. He has been selected as our September Athlete of the Month. His remarkable achievements on the field are a testament to his dedication, talent, and unwavering passion for the beautiful game.

A Rising Star on the Field:

Noel Vargas has quickly become a top player in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC). As a junior at Stamford High School, he has been making waves with his exceptional performance. Noel’s statistics for the month of September are nothing short of impressive. In 8 games played, he scored an astonishing 8 goals and provided 1 assist. His consistency and ability to find the back of the net were on full display with 1 hat trick and 2 braces during the month.

An Exciting Local Talent:

Noel’s journey as a soccer player is not just about statistics; it’s about his passion and dedication to the sport. He brings an electrifying energy to every match, captivating fans and teammates alike with his skill and determination on the pitch. His impact on Stamford High School’s soccer team is undeniable, and his contributions are a source of inspiration for aspiring young athletes in our community.

Jhonny Arteaga, Head of JA Elite Football Club, has nothing but praise for this talented player. He says, “Noel is an exciting local player. We are thrilled to have him at JA Elite Football Club, and happy to see him doing well with SHS. I’m certain that he will continue to do great things with both his school team and our club team.”

Noel’s dedication to both his school and club teams is a testament to his commitment to honing his skills and constantly pushing himself to excel. His work ethic, sportsmanship, and love for the game are qualities that make him not just a standout athlete but also a role model for his peers.

A Bright Future Ahead:

As we celebrate Noel Vargas as our September Athlete of the Month, we are excited to see where his journey in soccer will take him. With his remarkable talent, determination, and the support of his coaches, teammates, and community, we have no doubt that Noel has a bright future ahead.

Noel, keep chasing your dreams and inspiring those around you. Your achievements on and off the field make us proud to celebrate you as First County Bank’s September Athlete of the Month. We here at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy, eagerly await the incredible feats you’ll accomplish in the days, months, and years to come.

Lady Titans – First County Bank Athletes of the Month

Athlete of the Month - August 2023
Athlete of the Month - August 2023

At Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy, we believe in celebrating the achievements and growth of our young athletes. This August, we have something truly special to share with you as we honor not one, but five outstanding athletes who have graduated from high school and are taking the next big step in their academic and athletic journeys. These remarkable individuals have been a part of the Lady Titan’s program, and their dedication and passion have shone brightly throughout their time with us. Without further ado, let’s meet our August, First County Bank, Athletes of the Month.

Gia Scortino:

Gia Scortino has been a vital part of the Lady Titan’s program since she joined us at 14u. Over the course of four years, Gia showcased her skills on the field, primarily as a first and third baseman. Her journey reached a significant milestone when she graduated from Norwalk High School. Gia’s leadership qualities were recognized when she was named softball captain during her senior year. She’s not only a fantastic player but also the “mom” of the team, offering guidance and support to her teammates. Gia is now furthering her education at Keene State College in New Hampshire, where we have no doubt she will continue to shine.

Analise Trani:

Another Lady Titan’s stalwart, Analise Trani, joined the program at 14u and played as a third baseman for four years. Analise graduated from Greens Farms Academy and has made the exciting decision to continue her athletic and academic journey at Western New England in Springfield, MA, where she’ll be playing Field Hockey. Her two-year stint as a softball captain at GFA showcased her leadership skills. Analise is known for her team spirit and creative team nicknames like “St. Joes” and “Stormy.” Her pre-inning tradition of gathering the team for a game of rock, paper, scissors is a testament to her ability to bring positivity and camaraderie to the field.

Christina Zinicola:

Christina Zinicola, who joined the Lady Titan’s program at 14u, spent four years primarily playing second or shortstop. After graduating from Stamford High School, Christina has taken the next step in her academic journey at Manhattan College. Her senior year at Stamford High saw her being named softball captain, reflecting her leadership on and off the field. Christina is known for her fearless playstyle, never shying away from taking the extra base or making a spectacular diving play. We can’t wait to welcome her back next summer.

Jenna Soltis, aka “Jenny from the Block”:

Jenna Soltis, affectionately known as “Jenny from the Block,” joined the Lady Titan’s program at 18u and played as the starting centerfielder for two years. Graduating from Wilton High School, Jenna has decided to further her education at Ohio State. Much like her namesake, Jenna was a speed demon on the field, always taking the extra base and being an aggressive base runner. Her leadership qualities were recognized when she was named softball captain at Wilton High during her senior year.

Cassie Robotti:

Last but certainly not least, we have Cassie Robotti. Cassie started her journey with the Lady Titans at 14u, initially playing baseball before transitioning to softball. As a middle infielder, primarily at shortstop, Cassie displayed exceptional skills and dedication. Currently pursuing her education at Penn State, Cassie graduated from Stamford High, where she served as a softball captain for two years.

We are immensely proud of each of these talented athletes and their achievements both on and off the field. They exemplify the values of teamwork, dedication, and leadership that we hold dear at BVSA. While they may be moving on to new adventures, they will forever be a part of the BVSA family. Congratulations to Gia, Analise, Christina, Jenna, and Cassie, our First County Bank, August Athletes of the Month! We can’t wait to see the incredible feats you’ll achieve in the future, and we look forward to welcoming you back whenever you’re in town. Good luck, and keep reaching for the stars! 🌟🎓🥎

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories from BVSA, where we celebrate the excellence of our young athletes month after month.

Ava Quinlan – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Ava Quinlan - July Athlete of the Month

“At BVSA, Coach Matt and I do a ton of birthday parties… probably close to one hundred parties per year. They all vary in sports played, competitiveness between the kids, and time spent on each of a minimum of 2-3 sports.

Ava had her birthday party here last year and her and her teammates played ninety minutes of a legit softball game. We were blown away, we could not believe this is what the girls wanted to do and it was some of the most fun we ever had as coaches working a birthday party.”

Joe Wanderlingh, BVSA Instructor

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for July is Ava Quinlan! Ava is going into fourth grade at Springdale Elementary School,  and currently plays for the Stamford Stars 8u Red team. This isn’t just any 8u softball team, this team just recently earned a spot in the Babe Ruth World Series in Jensen Beach, Florida. Surprise, surprise, Ava was just awarded Player of the Game during the World Series Tournament!

Ava has played for the Stars for the last five years, starting at just four years old. This is her second year playing travel softball, and it has certainly been a successful one. She is hitting .614 and leading the team in RBIs with 26. She leads the team with 15 extra base hits, including her first career home run in the State Championship game. She ended up hitting for the cycle that game and took home MVP honors along with the championship trophy. 

Ava trains at BVSA in the offseason with Coach Danielle doing both hitting and pitching, and she has already verbally committed that she wants to work here when she is older.

Other than softball, Ava loves dancing at Center Stage Dance Studio and plays basketball for the Stamford Young Timers. Her favorite baseball team is the New York Yankees, with her favorite player being Aaron Judge. In ten years, you can find Ava starting at second base or on the mound for the University of Florida, as she already knows she wants to be a Gator.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Ava Quinlan once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for July. She has made history as the youngest BVSA Athlete of the Month we’ve ever had, and we cannot wait to see her continue to grow into her game. Congratulations, Ava!