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Our December, First County Bank Athlete of the Month is 14 year old Thomas Garcia. Garcia is truly a dedicated athlete who puts maximum effort into all his endeavors. Which is why he being recognized with this honor was such an easy decision for Andy Towers and B.V.S.A. management. A ferocious athlete with an intense drive to be the best he can be in any drill, practice or game. However it should not go unstated or unappreciated that even though Garcia is a high level lacrosse player, his passion and drive to be great in all sports comes from an appreciation for the camaraderie created with teammates. Having a common goal and love for team and teammates’ success separates him from others.
Garcia who is only just an eighth grader has a diversified portfolio in the sports he has participated in and the experiences he has had in each. For starters Garcia has been a contributing member of New Canaan’s top lacrosse team, the highly competitive Eclipse 2024 AA team for six years now. A two-way midfielder who takes face-offs has helped lead this team with the direction from great coaching. But he is only that much more prepared due to the rigorous, intense, and high-level training down here at BVSA in the winter with Andy Towers. Towers who runs Lacrosse Draws and is the head coach of the Chaos in the PLL had this to say about Garcia, “Thomas Garcia is my choice for the First County Bank Athlete of the Month. No one works harder in our program and no one is more consistent than Thomas. This kid truly exemplifies everything that a college coach is looking for in a prospect as it relates to focus, effort, and grit, and most importantly being a great teammate.” The summer was no different for Garcia, his U-13 Eclipse 2024 team qualified to play in the World Series of Youth Lacrosse in Denver, Colorado. He also played in the National Lacrosse Federation tournament where he and his team excelled. Another highlight for Garcia was in 2018, he was named a 2018 CONNY Allstar by the CONNY Coaches, Competition, and Committee. It set him up to play in the 25th Annual CONNY East-West Allstar Classic at Yale University’s Reese Stadium where he proceeded to tally two goals, two assists and several ground balls.
However, it is important that it does not go understated that Garcia is a student-athlete. While playing lacrosse he also participated in football, wrestling, and baseball being a standout or a major contributor in all these sports as well. But away from the playing fields Garcia maintains a 4.1 GPA (weighted) for his coursework and shows the same level of determination to be great there as well. Garcia is also a member of the Model United Nations, as well as a volunteer at St. Aloysius Church and as a coach for his younger sister’s basketball team. With all of these factors only favoring the hard working Garcia he does not have set plans for college yet. All he would like is to attend a school such as Stanford or Williams where it is academically competitive and he can continue his playing career. Everyone here at BVSA, Coach Andy, Coach Pete and all his teammates look forward to seeing what he is able to accomplish in the near future!
Our First County Bank Athlete of the Month for November is 17 year old Frankie Ramppen IV. Ramppen who was born into a baseball life has been a member of the B.V.S.A. family since the inception of the academy. However, he spent years 2-8 in Japan getting to experience pro-ball first hand because his father Frank was a professional coach for the Chiba Lotte Marines with Bobby Valentine. One of Frankie’s famous lines that he learned over in Japan and would say to anyone who would listen is that, “he was born to play baseball.” He surely was because as soon as he could pick up and swing a wiffle bat the fire and passion for the game began. Although he would swing both lefty and righty because his favorite player was a switch hitter which made him a dynamic player even at that young age. Frankie now is a Senior at New Canaan High School and a captain in his final season. The intense and fiery competitor will be a starter for a fourth straight season and will look to lead his team to be competitive in the FCIAC.
Ramppen is primarily a center fielder who can pitch as well and will be looked upon heavily in his senior season. But before New Canaan and Fury baseball for the academy, Frankie got his start in local parks in Japan. This was the site where the Baybuster little league teams would practice and play for hours on end. When the Ramppen family returned from Japan, Frankie continued his development of skills and baseball IQ through Cal Ripken in New Canaan and the Fury teams at the Academy. Frankie’s abilities skyrocketed as he played up for B.V.S.A’s Fury teams and learned from all the coaches/instructors available to him including his father. His passion and love for the game only grew stronger through the years because of getting better, winning, all the accolades, and above all else the fun that the game was and still is. One early accolade that stands out above others is the selection to the Under Armour National Future Stars team in Aberdeen, Maryland at the age of 12, which is also when he got to play on national TV. A former Fury coach had this to say, “Frankie is one of the most intense players, I have ever had the privilege of coaching. His determination to win is unmatched and separates him from other players.”
Frankie continued to produce once he hit the big field and did not skip a beat. Only thing that changed is he had more space to make plays in the outfield continue to look effortless. Once Ramppen arrived at New Canaan High School his skill level was clearly above others there, and the head coach at the time knew it. Frankie as a Freshmen batted 2nd and played centerfield for a good Rams varsity baseball team. To this point now a 3 year, Varsity starter who has hit above .300 every year, which includes batting .458 last year as a Junior his ability only grows as the years go on. He additionally earned All County East honors in both his Sophomore and Junior years. Frankie earned two local scholarship offers after his Freshman year but had dreams to go play south. Ramppen made those dreams come true as he committed to play at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Palm Beach, Florida.
Ramppen outside of baseball is a committed student and maybe an even more committed Raiders fan. His burning passion to be good at whatever he does or whoever he roots for can be heard when you talk to him. Here at B.V.S.A. we have been fortunate enough to be a part of and witness the growth and development of Frankie not just as a player but as a person. He will be missed when he goes off to college the following fall and we want nothing more than to see him have a great Senior season and an even better college career. Coach Anthony Conte had this to say, “Frankie has an intense will to win and is fun to watch play! His jumps, angles, and his catch to release in the outfield are special. He’s a true switch hitter and a menace on the base baths. Doesn’t really see himself as a pitcher yet but he’s a lefty who can chuck it on the bump. He knew he wanted to play down south and we are pumped that he trusted his gut! We are all very excited to see what he does at PBA over the next few years.” We cannot wait to see what he accomplishes in the near future!
Our First County Bank, October Athlete of the Month is 12 year old Reagan Adiletta. Adiletta is undoubtedly one of the most dedicated softball players in the facility, but this is only a piece of why she was selected. A member of the 7th/8th grade Lady Titans team, at least one lesson a week, assisting in the 9th grade practices and catching bullpens for teammates during their lessons is part of the amazing work ethic that separates her as a player. Adiletta is driven, competitive, and passionate as a player but an amazing teammate willing to go the extra mile for each and every one of them. One of her coaches Ashley Simoneau had this to say, “Reagan will outwork every single player on the softball diamond no matter their size or ability. Her determination, work ethic, and pure grit makes her a joy to coach. She is a very versatile player that will adapt to any position you put her at however, she shines behind the plate as she commands control of the game.”
Adiletta is primarily a catcher who has the ability to move around the diamond with ease. Before becoming a Lady Titan, Reagan played for Darien Little League where her teams won 3 consecutive house championships and she was part of 2 District Championship teams. This winning pedigree and love for the game stemmed from watching her older brothers play baseball, sometimes watching 8 games a weekend. So it is no coincidence that when she finally started T-Ball at 5 years old she took to it and never let go. The love for catching and donning the tools of ignorance did not happen as swiftly. But at nine when her coached asked her to try catching the burning passion to be the best catcher possible had sparked. Reagan also passes her knowledge and passion on to younger players in the town of Darien as well. Coach Elizabeth Joseph said this about her, “Reagan is a very dedicated and passionate player that is always willing to learn. She comes to every practice wanting to get better. Reagan is a small but scrappy, aggressive player that can get the job done. Whether behind the plate, at shortstop, or in centerfield, Reagan has the ability and talent to make some incredible plays.”
Reagan is currently a student at Middlesex Middle School in Darien where she maintains straight A’s. Her favorite is math and has the goal of becoming a civil engineer. Adiletta is also an excellent swimmer who competes for Country Club of Darien and Darien Piranhas. She excels in the Freestyle and Backstroke, with her favorite event being the 200 Freestyle. Reagan also shows her compassionate side for animals as well, none more than her dog Preston. Adiletta has done an amazing job exemplifying what it takes to be an Athlete of the Month. That is why BVSA management and each Lady Titan coach were so ecstatic to recognize her with this honor. We all are looking forward to seeing what Reagan can achieve both on and off the field.
Coach Lauren Delgadillo – “Reagan is a dedicated athlete who strives to get 1% better each day that stems from her passion to win. She not only shows how good she is on the softball field, but shows how good she wants to be. Her hard work, passion, and dedication sets the example of what it takes to be a successful athlete. Reagan has been and will continue to be such an important part of the Lady Titans organization.”
Our September, First County Bank, Athlete of the Month is 18 year old Taylor Perlman. Perlman is one of the longstanding members of the B.V.S.A. community that has also been involved in Fury, Scouted Sports and Ramp3 Baseball. There are few coaches who work here or other athletes that train at the Academy who do not know Taylor Perlman. Taylor brings the lighter side out of those coaches who have been lucky to have him as a member of their team, as well as the players he battles beside. This is not without bringing one of the stronger work ethics in the building as well. Outside of baseball Perlman is a committed student, leader, and a member of multiple communities that he is able to bring his unique style of thinking into. Now a Senior, Perlman is entering his third year on King School’s varsity baseball team and is a Captain for this upcoming season. King’s Coach, Ryan Quinn had this to say “Taylor was voted captain by his teammates and coaches after a very successful junior campaign. He was our designated hitter throughout the season and was right in the middle of a very potent offense. He will be looked upon to provide leadership on a young King team in 2020.”
Perlman primarily a first basemen will also see time in right field, on the mound, and serve as the team’s designated hitter. During his Junior season last year he hit over .300 and was a part of the FAA championship team who made a run in regionals (losing in the finals). He has been able to reach this next pinnacle in his baseball career due to his countless years playing Fury (since he was 8), the academies travel program and training under Frank Ramppen, owner and founder of Ramp3 Baseball. Taylor has been a Ramp3 member since he was 10 years old. Frank had this to say about Perlman, “Taylor has been one of my favorite students through the years. He has worked so hard to get to this level and it’s been fun every step of the way. He has the unique ability to combine hard work, focus and fun. You can expect big things out of Taylor in years to come.”
However, what separates Taylor from other previous ‘Athlete of the Month’ recipients we have had in the past is truly his accomplishments off the field. In his Junior Year alone Taylor achieved a 4.82 GPA (weighted due to his 6 AP courses) and a cumulative 4.5 GPA (also weighted). He will have completed 13 AP courses in his high school career when this school year ends. Perlman also scored a 35 on his ACT standardized test all while being the Leader and Founder of King’s, Sports Business Club. Additionally he is Head Ambassador for King and the Vice President of the Upper School. Taylor also spent part of last summer interning for Duke’s basketball team as the Summer Manager and a member of the social media team. Along with being a featured NBA writer for Bleacher Report on multiple occasions. Perlman has shown to be an all encompassing student-athlete.
Perlman even with these credentials is still yet to find out exactly where he is going but one thing for sure is it will be an opportunity that he earned and most only dream of achieving. He will likely be studying Sport Management in college while also exploring other topic areas to continue to broaden his horizon. As far as Taylor Perlman the sports fan it is all about those Duke Blue Devils no matter what the sport. Every coach, teammate and person Perlman comes in contact with knows the level he can reach and everybody is excited to see how far and how high he goes.
Our First County Bank August Athlete of the Month is 9 year old McKenna O’Neill. O’Neill is a dedicated member to JA Elite Soccer Academy and an athlete who wants nothing more than to be her very best. McKenna exhibits qualities such as leadership, hard work, and dedication that any coach would love to have in all their players. She brings a level of intensity not just to games but practice as well that help raise the level of energy and fight to be better in her teammates.
O’Neill played for both JA Elite Summer Select 08’ and 09’ teams and will be playing for Chelsea Piers this fall. McKenna also participated in year-round clinics and camps for JA Elite as well. Over this past summer her competitive play has not just made her an invaluable member to both teams but someone her coaches call on to be versatile on the field. O’Neill going into the year had mainly been a striker but as the season progressed started to play mid-field as well. Founder of JA Elite and Coach Jhonny Arteaga had this to say, “Mckenna has been terrific the entire summer. Her leadership qualities on and off the field are great to see in a young athlete. She leads by example, she’s always working hard and is very coachable. We are lucky to have so many great athletes and overall great kids in our program but the entire JA Elite coaching agreed that Mckenna is our Athlete of the month. This is recognition to the work that she’s put in, not only during this Month but the entire year. We wish her a great Fall season with her club and look forward to having her back this Winter.”
O’Neill outside of soccer plays basketball as well for two age groups and runs point for those teams. Last winter she was part of a boys team and did not skip a beat, her competitive nature mixed with her great attitude made it that much easier. Additionally McKenna excels at tennis as well, only losing one match this entire summer. It is important to reiterate that she is successful all while being a great teammate and a coach’s dream player. O’Neill by no surprise is the same person in the classroom as well. Hungry to learn, dedicated, hard working, and receiving great grades.
O’Neill is still young, in elementary school, and progressing in all aspects has big aspirations of where her work ethic will take her. Everyone here at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy and JA Elite Soccer Academy look forward to seeing what her future holds in store both on and off the field.
Our July Athlete of the Month is 16 year old Ryan Higgins. Higgins a truly special talent has been growing as a player and a person every year since starting with Frank at 8 years old. However, over the past few months, Ryan has pitched his way to the next level. It was not without hard work and dedication that he has accomplished so much as a player. Higgins pitches with intent and intensity unlike any one around him. He is entering his Junior season at Taft School and the team is coming off a conference win.
Ryan is primarily a pitcher who plays outfield when he is not on the bump. Higgins before Taft was a standout player for St. Luke’s School in the FAA. His coach Anthony Conte has this to say about him “Ryan started for us on varsity as an 8th grader. He ended up being a few votes short of being all-league as an 8th grader. His athleticism and demeanor make him a very fun kid to coach.” During his previous summer seasons Ryan played for many of our Fury teams. He dominated on both sides of the ball with all his coaches loving the production they received from him. During this summer though Higgins has made the most of an invitation to play for the Evoshield Canes. This is where he has continued to truly mature as a player.
A large part of why Ryan has reached the level he is at now, is because of where it all started, in the cages at Camp Ave with Frank Ramppen. Higgins was the original member of Ramp3 baseball and now with that guidance, he has created his own path because of the ability to tap into his potential. Frank had this to say, “ Ryan, clearly had plenty of athletic ability but like most 8 year olds, needed to learn the proper mechanics of throwing and hitting. Through the years Ryan worked on his development regularly throughout the year, training at least once a week and often times twice. Ryan developed into a solid hitter, batting third or fourth for all his teams and always the ace of the pitching staff. I had the opportunity to not only train Ryan in the cages but was his coach for several teams so we were able to connect and experience the mental aspects of the game too. In 2015 when I started Ramp3 Baseball, Ryan was my first client as we continued to work towards his full potential. Ryan has worked his butt off and has grown physically, mentally and technically. He has experienced some dominating times both as a hitter and a pitcher and now, at the age of 16 has harnessed a fastball in the low 90’s to go along with a sharp, late breaking curveball and an excellent change up. I am so proud of him and honored to have been a part of the journey.”
The culmination of hard work, dedicated time to the craft and endless games has resulted in Higgins’ verbal commitment to Duke University. A dream come true for the kid who only eight short years ago started to see what he could become. Ryan is also an honor roll student at Taft School with some time before deciding on what to study at Duke. His favorite team is the Chicago Cubs and his favorite player is Kris Bryant, the 2016 MVP. Like many, his goal is one day to be playing in the big leagues, and hopefully for the Cubs. But unlike the crowd Higgin’s toolset separates him from the rest of the pack and gives him a realistic chance of making this dream a reality. We look forward to seeing what the future has in store for you, congrats Ryan!
Our June, First County Bank Athlete of the Month, is twenty two year old Anthony DiMeglio. DiMeglio is not just one of the most talented arms to come through the Academy but also a great example of what hard work helps create. Ant did not rest on the fact he was talented but doubled down on it and invested the time to foster it. This is why he had the great opportunity to pitch at Fordham University, a Division 1 program. DiMeglio is a ferocious competitor who gives you everything he has and more. With a power fastball and a hammer curve Ant can make an at-bat very uncomfortable for any hitters. DiMeglio additionally has of earlier this year finished with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Fordham.
Before Fordham, Anthony was a standout player at Darien High School. He was a three year varsity starter, as well as a captain his Senior year. DiMeglio earned All-FCIAC honors twice and First Team honors in 2015. In addition, was named First Team All-Connecticut by MSG Varsity. DiMeglio was a valuable member of multiple Fury teams over the years and was a beloved player by his coach Anthony Conte. Coach Conte had this to say about him, “Anthony always threw a heavy ball, knew how to spin a curveball and loved to compete. More importantly, he always has a smile on his face and learned to work through adversity with a handful of injuries over the years. I was pumped that he got the opportunity to play at Fordham and really develop into the pitcher he is today. We are excited to see how far he can take this!!”
In his Freshman year at Fordham, Anthony appeared in 24 games (all relief appearances), which was the 8th most ever in a single season for a pitcher. He recorded his first collegiate strikeout, win and save this season as he learned what this level of play was all about. His Sophomore season was a tale of two tapes. DiMeglio showed signs of dominance and taking his pitching to the next level. But he was unfortunately hit by a line drive early in the season versus Canisius, costing him a month of his season. Anthony’s Junior season was his coming out party, where he set career highs in every statistical category as well as leading the team in strikeouts and wins. He also threw a complete game in a tough lose to George Mason in the Atlantic 10 Championship. DiMeglio continue to shine as a standout pitcher for Fordham and finished his career there with solid numbers.
Rob DiToma, current Head Coach at FDU, had the opportunity to coach Anthony at Fordham. He had this to say about Anthony “From the minute Anthony walked on campus his freshman year he had something to prove. He truly worked himself into a pitcher that we could not ignore. He earned every inning he received, and at the same time the respect of his teammates and coaching staff. It was a pleasure to watch him develop and grow into the person he became both on and off the field. There’s no doubt the Fordham program would not have accomplished what it has the last four years without Anthony.”
Since finishing his playing career and academic tenure at Fordham University his next opportunity has presented itself. Anthony was recently signed to an amateur contract by the Milwaukee Brewers. He earned this, all the hard work, along with years of sacrifice paid off with the ability now to go and continue the dream of being a major league player. We could not be happier or more excited for you here at the facility and want your journey to be an example to all the upcoming players in the area. Perseverance is a major contributor to achieving your dreams!
Jhonny Arteaga along with Bobby Valentine and their respective teams are excited to announce a new collaboration between JA Elite Soccer Academy (JAESA) and Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy (BVSA)! JA Elite is now the official soccer program of BVSA’s new 40,000 square foot indoor sports facility.
BVSA has been in Stamford for over 12 years and recently moved into its new facility located at 4 Largo Drive in Stamford, CT. The new BVSA building boasts 40 foot ceilings, an almost 16,000 square foot turf field, six batting cages, an arcade area, a weight room and a sporting goods store. On any given day, you can observe one-on-one baseball and softball instruction, team practice on the full field, lacrosse skill training and IQ development, soccer team/small group training, football practice for local high schools and even large scale community events that can host over 1000 guests.
JAESA was founded by Jhonny Arteaga, to provide Club-conflict free elite soccer education to young athletes and teams. JAESA, is a private youth soccer player development company which offers club services, team training, supplemental training programs, summer & winter select teams, camps, clinics, futsal training, specialty clinics, as well as individual training. Jhonny Arteaga is a former professional soccer player who excelled at different levels of the game. He has succeeded in his playing career by being true to his passion and dedication for this sport. Jhonny’s main goal is to pass on all of his soccer passion, knowledge, and experience to today’s young athletes through JAESA!
“JA Elite Soccer Academy is proud to call the new BVSA facility it’s new indoor training center. We are looking forward to our partnership with Bobby Valentine, Frank Ramppen, and the BVSA team. We share the same values and passion for teaching, and inspiring the upcoming generations to reach for their goals on and off the field. This great indoor facility gives our players, coaches, parents and everyone involved with JA Elite a place to call home” Said Jhonny Arteaga, Founder and Director of JA Elite Soccer Academy. Our new indoor home, helps us continue to make a great impact in the local soccer community by providing excellent soccer programs for players of all ages and levels.
“Jhonny and his coaches are phenomenal. Their player to coach ratio is fantastic and it shows in all of their training sessions. They constantly create a fun, informative, and inspirational atmosphere.” said Anthony Conte. “We are thrilled with our partnership with JA Elite. Teaming up with great local organizations, is a crucial aspect to our continued success.”
JA Elite will be joining a group of great organizations that have already made BVSA their home. OverDrive Elite Performance Systems, Instant Replay Sporting Goods, CT City Lax, JA Elite Soccer and so many others are all under one roof with the same mission: to help as many of the next generation of student athletes, achieve their goals and more!
Sign up for the JA Elite mailing list to stay up to date on all upcoming programs!
We are excited to announce our May Athlete of the Month, 22 year old Griffin Dey! Dey a longstanding member of the B.V.S.A. community has been working hard year after year to continue to progress his skillset. Closing in on reaching a level many work for and few achieve, he sets himself apart in a multitude of ways. Griffin the ball player on the field can be described as a calculated and dynamic athlete who has the ability along with strength to send the ball into orbit. Dey recently wrapped up his Senior season at Yale University, while also graduating with a Bachelor’s in Political Science to finish his academic tenure at the school.
Griffin was primarily a first baseman in his time at Yale but played third base in his senior year. He also pitched mainly as the team’s closer when the opportunity arose. Prior to Yale, Griffin grew up in Pound Ridge, New York and went to John F. Kennedy Catholic. An impact player there, and a stellar student it was clear Dey was destined for D1 Baseball. But to help get his skillset as a ball player Griffin found himself as a student of Frank Ramppen, Ramp3 Baseball and BVSA. Frank the managing partner of the Academy also operates his own elite level training company for players who are truly committed to the process. Dey continues to work with Frank anytime he is home or needs a quick tune up. Frank had this to say about Yale’s slugger, “Griffin hits the ball as hard as anybody I’ve seen in our area and he does it with regularity. He has a legitimate power factor, is a hard worker and is a tremendous person.”
Dey worked hard to make sure he was impactful in the middle of Yale’s lineup. After a Freshman season filled with struggle he took a major jump up his Sophomore year. His Sophomore year he was an Ivy-League Honorable Mention, leading his team with 10 home runs, driving in 40 and having a 6-0 record with a 2.70 era. His Junior year he earned a spot on the 2018 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I Northeast All-Region Second Team and Named 2018 NEIBA Division I All-New England First Team. In his final season Dey batted .362 with 11 home runs, and 44 driven in. Griffin was a mainstay in the middle of the Bulldogs lineup. June 3rd is fast approaching Griffin’s baseball career is set to reach a new level. With the Amateur Draft being the day, Dey gets the call saying he is good enough to play professional baseball. An ex-teammate, Rich Slenker, who recently got the call had this to say about him, “He hits until his hands bleed. Then keeps hitting. Hardest worker I know. Never had more fun playing baseball than I had playing with Grif. He knows how to keep things in perspective and enjoy the little things in the game.”
Congratulations to Griffin on this honor! We look forward to seeing what team will give him the chance to reach the ultimate level of playing on June 3rd. Keep up all the hard work and being a great example for the youth athletes we have coming through the academy.
Our April First County Bank Athlete of the Month is 21 year old Colin Kelly. Kelly is our first college baseball player to receive the honor and is currently a senior at Union College. Kelly has excelled in his time as a Dutchmen while taking none of it for granted continuously putting in a copious amount of work any chance he can. During the breaks he has from college, Kelly is a frequent of BVSA, and utilizes it to the fullest. Kelly is a true gamer, not just playing hard but playing the game smart. His heads up baseball, mixed with a solid baseball IQ gives helps give his team the best chance to win in every game.
“Extremely happy for Colin to see how much success he’s having at the college level. Not surprised as Colin’s work ethic was always different than most. What everyone knows of him is a great athlete who swings it from the left side. Good feet as well as a plus arm. What most won’t see on paper is the type of person he is and the leadership he provides for team and teammates. Good luck Colin and finish strong!” – Mike Abate, Greenwich Cannons Head Coach
Kelly as stated early is currently a senior and enjoying every second of what could potentially be his final season. Originally from Greenwich, CT, he is a product of Greenwich High School and the Greenwich Cannons. Kelly is currently the Dutchmen’s shortstop, getting to display his athleticism, however can play anywhere in the infield. Kelly is committed to the classroom as well and is a very successful student as well. He was a member of the National Honors Society in high school and now is very much so a shining example for young student-athletes. Besides baseball Kelly grew up playing hockey as well, earning All-FCIAC honors in high school for both sports.
We want to congratulate Colin again on receiving this honor, we are proud to call him part of the BVSA family! Wishing you nothing but the best and we look forward to seeing what you can do with the rest of your season and taking on your next challenges away from the field.
Current Stats: .338 Avg, 22 Hits, 10 XBH, 19 R.B.I., and 14 Runs Scored
Honors and Awards:
– ABCA/Rawlings All-America Second Team (2018)
– D3baseball.com All-America Second Team (2018)
– ECAC Div. III Player of the Year (2018)
– ABCA/Rawlings All-New York Region First Team (2018)
– D3baseball.com All-New York Region First Team (2018)
– All-ECAC First Team (2018)
– Liberty League Player of the Year (2018)
– All-Liberty League First Team (2018)
– D3baseball.com National Team of the Week (4/10/18)
– Liberty League Performer of the Week (4/2/18, 4/9/18, 5/7/18)
– Harold D. Moore Sophomore Athletic Prize (2017-18)
Our March First County Bank Athlete of the Month is 13 year old Aisling Boyd. Boyd is our first lacrosse player to receive the honor and is a participant with CT City Lax here at BVSA. Aisling was not just a committed lacrosse player through her time with CT City but also someone who was open to all feedback that would help elevate her game to the next level. Boyd is both a ferocious competitor while in the heat of the game, wanting to play her best and help her team win. While also being a great teammate and friend when it is all said and done. Coach Nazz had this to say, “She is a hard worker and asks questions for further understanding. She is highly skilled and deserved this award!”
Boyd is currently an eighth grader at John Jay Middle School in Cross River, New York. She plays midfield for her town team and additionally plays for the 2024 Gold Coast Club Team. Boyd’s commitments do not end on the lacrosse field though. She is an honors student who also is a competitive horseback rider. She also is an avid surfer in the summertime whenever the opportunity is there. Boyd is also a devout Mets’ fan, which helps prove how committed and patient she is to the process of getting better over time.
We want to congratulate Aisling again on receiving this honor, we are proud to call her part of the BVSA family! We look forward and so does Nazz to having her back sharpening her skills with CT City Lax this upcoming fall. Good luck with your upcoming season and go out there and dominate!
Our February Athlete of the Month is 15 year old Mackenzie Bruggeman. Kenzie is one of B.V.S.A.’s most impressive athletes. What she is able to do on the softball field is typically unmatched and hard not to notice. Bruggeman has not been able to achieve these distinctions without putting in the time to make it second nature. During this time at the academy, it is often a great show she is able to put on, with so many stopping what they are doing to watch. Even when you cannot watch her, you can tell it is her working from the different sound her ball of the bat or her ball popping the glove makes. Bruggeman is a powerful player with a fire to compete and help her team with whatever way she can.
Kenzie is currently a sophomore at Trumbull High School and is preparing for her second season of Varsity softball in the coming months. Bruggeman who is mainly a shortstop, can also play third, and played a lot of second base for Trumbull last season. All leading up to her pitching every state playoff game for Trumbull to end their season. Once the High School season ends Bruggeman is back with her long time summer team the Lady Titans. Lady Titans is B.V.S.A.’s softball travel program coached by Danielle Simoneau. Last summer for the Lady Titans Kenzie put up some astronomical numbers; Batting .402, OBP .467, Slugging .630, making for an OPS of 1.098. She had 37 hits including 10 doubles, 1 triple and three home runs all while driving in 36 runs. On the bump she was 6-1, with a ERA of 2.88, and had 38 strikeouts. These numbers help reinforce why she is such a feared player on both sides of the ball.
Bruggeman works at B.V.S.A. as a junior instructor for softball programming and clinics that happen throughout the year. She is also an athlete that puts in the hours with Overdrive Elite Performance multiple times a week and excels there like few others do. Bruggeman just now getting into the recruiting process has been turning heads and is expected to receive a ton of attention moving forward. No one in this area understands that more than her mom, and coach, Danielle Simoneau. Danielle was also highly touted and went through similar circumstances. Danielle went to University Hartford on a full ride, was a fear pitcher and hitter while there, still holding school records for a multitude of statistics. Kenzie is a hard working student who understands that she is a student-athlete. But we are looking forward to seeing her continue to grow as an athlete and an individual.
Roger Bolton has been selected as our First County Bank Athlete of the Month for January. Roger is an extraordinary husband, father, worker, and overall person. He is happily married to his wife, Lynne, and they have three amazing children, Taylor, Tim, and John. Roger makes it a priority in his life to train year-round at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy, while working full time as the President of the Arthur W. Page Society.
In January of 2019, Roger attended his ninth fantasy baseball camp, and seventh in the last seven years (all with the Cincinnati Reds). Fantasy Camp is a six-day event where the participants play at least 10 games, including one against ex-pro Reds’ alumni. The entire week is also programmed, led, and coached by former Reds players. In order to prepare for this, he trains at BVSA with Anthony Conte. Since 2012, Roger has put in over 150 hours of work, always working to improve for the next camp. His sons, Tim and John, also trained at BVSA throughout their high school varsity baseball years. Additionally, his daughter Taylor, who captained her high school varsity softball team, recently started to train with Roger and plans to join him at Reds’ camp next year.
“He is an awesome guy all around!” Anthony said. “I am so glad he found us all those years ago and has stuck with it. It’s extremely impressive to have an idea of his usual schedule and somehow, he always finds a way to focus on his family and professional life, while staying in shape for the next opportunity to compete. It’s been a very cool experience for me to work with and get to know Roger. He’s constantly pushing himself and challenging me as a coach, and person, in our sessions. I can’t thank him enough for our time together.”
As President of Page, Roger is part of a global membership organization for corporate chief communication officers and PR agency CEOs. Their members help their enterprises build brand and reputation, earn trust by developing a strong corporate character and authentically engaging with key stakeholders. He has prior experience in corporate communications at Aetna and IBM, and in government public affairs at the White House, U.S. Treasury, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Congress. Roger was recently granted the Alexander Hamilton Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2018. Watch with the link below.
We look forward to having Roger continue to come back for many years to come and to see his success on the field and in life keep on such an outstanding trajectory. BVSA is proud to have Roger as our oldest private lesson client and a member of the family.
Our December Athlete of the Month is 18 year old Joey Skarad. Skarad has not just been dedicated to being an excellent baseball player since he could hold a bat, but also a dedicated member of the baseball community at B.V.S.A. Without so much as a second thought, there are few names that you can say out work Skarad in the cages, gym or even at work. He is a fierce competitor, with an unmatched drive, and internal motivation to out work what he did yesterday. Skarad played at Westhill through his junior year and transferred to King. Now a senior, he is a captain and has been accepted, with a roster spot to Sacred Heart University.
Skarad is primarily a catcher who can play shortstop and pitch as well. He has played both Fury and X-Fury in the history of B.V.S.A. Both were great opportunities for Skarad to play with very talented, focused, older players who helped cement the work ethic needed be a frontline player. He has also played for other programs since but all who know Skarad know that B.V.S.A. is his home. Besides training here, he is currently a B.V.S.A. employee, an athlete training with Overdrive and an employee at Instant Replay. All highlight his work ethic, the love of the game, and the fact that if he could he would probably sleep here. Carrington one of the owners of Overdrive had this to say, “Joey is one of the hardest working kids in the gym. He is very consistent with his attitude, he is always motivating the other athletes in the gym and Skarad never has any excuses.”
Skarad finished with both the recruiting process and his acceptance into SHU is able to focus on enjoying the rest of his senior year and crushing baseballs come the high school season. He has chosen to study economics, while continuing to chase his passion of baseball. Skarad is a New York Yankees fan and Dallas Cowboys fan. He also grew up having Derek Jeter as his favorite player and role model on the field. Skarad is a facility favorite and all here look forward to seeing what his future holds for him both on and off the field.
Our November Athlete of the Month is 17 year old Leo Socci. Leo has been a dedicated baseball player since he was a little kid and although he has gone through a tough injury, he still pushes through and works hard. He is an easy-going, cool, calm and collected kid that has an ongoing motor filled with passion for the game. Leo as a freshman and sophomore went to West Hill High School and was on their varsity baseball team. At West Hill he was give Honorable Mention for two years in a row and now has transferred to Brunswick High School as a junior.
Leo is a pitcher as well as plays the infield. From the ages of 12 to 14 Leo played with B.V.S.A’s travel baseball team and currently plays with the Stamford Legion. In 2016, while he was on the 15U team they won the summer championship. Leo has been training with Mike Abate under Abate Training for 6 years. Abate is a huge fan of Leo’s; “I have a great deal of confidence due to his passion and commitment of being as good as he possibly can be. He is a player who has dealt with adversity and has made tremendous strides to overcome that and is on his way to achieving his goals. Leo’s work ethic and commitment is special.”
The “adversity” Abate is referring to is his Tommy John surgery he had last year in 2017. Tommy John surgery is a popular one for baseball players, pitchers especially in which your collateral ligament tears in your elbow. Leo’s recovery time was 14 months total going to therapy twice a week for the first nine months.
Leo is currently in the recruiting process hoping that one day he will get to play college baseball. For a potential area of study, Leo is interested in criminal justice. His favorite baseball team is the New York Yankees and favorite football team the New York Giants. He looks up to Marcus Stroman a pitcher for the the Blue Jays. Leo has a long list of supporters with him on his journey and we all hope the best for him.
Sunday, October 14, 2018 marked the end of an era for the BVSA Fury program. One of it’s greatest players played his last game wearing the #5 Fury uniform. Kevin Bruggeman has been playing Fury baseball since 2013 when he was 12 years old. The first time I saw him play, the year before, for an another organization, I new he was a player and a gamer. Fortunately for us, he came to Fury the following year and I had the opportunity and great fortune to be his coach for his first few years.
Kevin exemplifies everything you want a player to be. He plays with passion, energy and a level above most around him. He plays with grit and determination and is looked up to by his teammates and opponents. He works at his craft like no other and it shows on the field. His efforts and production helped lead our team to multiple tournament championships and tremendous experiences for all of us. It seemed like whenever we needed a big hit or a big play, Kev delivered. He has a great appreciation for the game and although an intense competitor, there’s always a smile and a joy for the game.
Kevin’s primary position is catcher and he controls the game behind the dish the way great catchers do. Even at 12 he had a great feel for the game and always called his own pitches very effectively. At SS or 3B (or wherever for that matter) he fortifies the defense effortlessly and with great consistency. Just about every game I ever coached while Kevin was playing, either an umpire, the opposing coach or even opposing players would make positive comments about #5 after the game. It was very easy for most to see that Kev was special.
His tremendous work effort carries over to the classroom where Kevin has earned excellent grades. His combination of talents has earned him a scholarship to play at Hofstra University where Kevin will be headed next fall.
On behalf of all of your coaches, teammates and the BVSA/Fury family, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Kevin for putting on the Fury uniform for all these years and setting the standard for all Fury players. It was a great pleasure for me to be your coach but there is just one thing. I asked you countless times to take the mound and throw an inning or two and you never did. Someday, somewhere, your going to have to put on the #5 uniform one more time and throw a few pitches for me. I’m sure it will be a 1,2 3 inning.
Best of luck #5,
Joe Pastore is our October Athlete of the Month. He is a 17 year old senior, at Ridgefield High School. Joe is a 2 year varsity starter on the baseball team. In his junior season at Ridgefield his hitting average was .308 and he hit 2 home runs. Over the summer he played with Baseball U and ended with a hitting average of .382, 24 hits, 16 xbh, and 3 home runs.
Joe has been training with B.V.S.A for over 6 years now. He has worked with many coaches at B.V.S.A and anyone who you ask will say he is a very easy-going and hard working kid. Joe is a power hitter and very efficient from the field. He enjoys playing center field the most. He first started training with Sully from 2012-2015 and from then on trains with Anthony Conte. He is dedicated to being the best player he can be and is passionate about the game.
He recently committed to Skidmore College to play baseball and being that his favorite school subject is economics he wants to study in the business school there as well. He started playing when he was 4 years old and is the first in his family to play baseball. He chose Skidmore because of the academics and the location being in the North East. His favorite MLB team is the New York Mets and favorite player is George Springer.
Excited to announce that Ian Brown, a.k.a “Big Country” is our Athlete of the Month for September. Ian is a 16 year old at Greens Farms Academy and plays as a first basemen on their varsity baseball team. Ian is a dedicated, hard-working, kind, witty and loyal kid on and off the field. He started playing baseball in 2008 first with Darien Little League and then started playing with Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy’s, Fury baseball team. In 2015 Ian played with Darien New Canaan American Legion baseball. He currently is still a member of the BVSA Fury.
Ian has had some great accomplishments and awards throughout his baseball career. He was on the GFA Dragonoids Robotics Team, he won the national championships in 2017 and Inspire Award and won regional championships in 2018. Ian was also on the baseball Factory/Under Armour National Team. At Green Farms Academy, Ian was the Head of School Honor Roll 2018.
Ian would love to play college baseball one day and study either science and technology or finance. His favorite subject in school is STEM. Outside of baseball he loves to go whitewater kayaking, fishing and spending time with his Portuguese Water dog, Vasco. His favorite baseball team is the New York Yankees and is a big fan of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Ian loves football as well and roots for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his favorite player Ben Roesthlisberger.
Seventeen years ago today, a very quiet morning turned dark as the tragic news spread. At 8:46am the North Tower was hit and just seventeen minutes later the second tower was struck sending a mixture of emotions through every American’s being. Before an hour had passed since the first impact the Pentagon was hit and the fourth plane crashed into an open field. The horrific event now over, a feeling of sorrow sweeping the nation, and it was now time to start the restoration of a city brought to the brink of darkness.
Bobby Valentine, the then Mets’ manager expressed the same sentiment that many felt that day. “Fear, I think, was the first emotion, and sadness, and then a couple days later I think that anger started coming out. But the bus ride was surreal. That’s the easiest way to put it. It was something I hope I never have to do again, but it’s a lasting memory. I’m on that road often when I’m in New Jersey, coming back, and I always look at Manhattan at the exact same point that I looked at it in 2001, and the image lives on”, Valentine stated only days after the event. Valentine was the first Met to visit Ground Zero as he traveled down in a police cruiser that had alterations made to be able to carry down more supplies for first responders. When Bobby returned from the initial trip down he shared his experiences with the players and coaches.
Valentine said, “It had me experience fear at a level that I had never experienced, It had me experience anger at a level I never experienced and it had me experience sadness, again, at a level that I never had before. And then there was the confusion of what to do. And everyone in New York and the surrounding area, and I think a lot of the country, had that same dilemma. Do we go down to the recruitment center and sign up? Do we lock ourselves in our house? Do we lend a helping hand to those in need?” Even with the mix of these emotions Bobby lead the charge as the Mets helped in the relief efforts any way they could. Mets cleared debris and helped those in the surrounding area victimized by the tragedy. John Franco the Mets closer was quoted, “Bobby was a great leader, He had us out there, and even when we were done, he stood out there by himself helping everybody else, all the volunteers. It wasn’t something we were ordered to do, either. We wanted to do it, we wanted to help, and once a couple of us got the OK to go downtown, we went downtown — Bobby, John Stearns, myself, Al Leiter, Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile. We wanted to go down there just to thank the workers.” This lead to an unforgettable scene as the Mets and the first-responders exchanged hats and those hats served as symbol for the Mets who would go on and wear them the rest of the season.
Valentine’s relief efforts much like the first responders did not end on that day. As the Mets returned to action on the seventeenth, the restoration continued. Bobby reminisces on the days saying, “It was remarkable the way they were met, the workers there were working on fumes, going around the clock, and we know how desperate it was and how impossible it was, what they were trying to achieve.” Bobby would continue to give in anyway he could including adopting a family which he would help sparing no effort. Bobby took the Conroys in as if they were his own.
This is the man who we are fortunate enough to work for, the kind of person who will help you in whatever you need and never ask for a favor in return. He has an impulse to give as much as he can and continue to give without any expectation of a return. The horrific events only inspired him to give more and we should all use that as a reminder to do for others because it is the right thing to do. Bobby continues to lead by example through both the darkest and brightest of times. It is important to be thankful for his efforts and those of all the first responders who controlled their emotions and helped rebuild following the events back on 9/11.
There is a 90 minute special on ESPN tonight covering The Comeback Season at 7pm. Bobby highly recommends that everybody check this out if they can!
Cornelius(Cory) Johnson is going into his senior year at Brunswick high school and is breaking records and catching the eyes of college coaches all around the country. He started at Brunswick school in 6th grade and when he got to the high school, started as a freshman on their football team immediately. Cory is the second in his family to play competitive football following an older brother at the University of San Diego. Cory plays the wide receiver weighing in at about 197 and stands about 6’2.5”. He began training with Overdrive Elite 3 years ago and while working with Overdrive, Cory tested his 40 yard dash ending with a 4.5 second and also his shuttle in 4.1 seconds. These numbers resembling those of NFL receivers, Cory’s offers and achievements reflect heavily upon these results.
As Cory’s football career has progressed he continues to win awards and nominations for outstanding talent. His sophomore and junior season he was named all conference. Cory stood as captain in his junior year and made the All-New England team his junior year as well. Following his junior season, Cory received a 4 star rating on ESPN and was a finalist for Nike’s The Opening. He is on the path to break Brunswick records in the number of touchdowns and yardage in the history of the school.
Cory’s hard work and efforts have definitely paid off for his dream of playing college football and then onto professionally. He received his first offer in 2017 by Duke University. Following Duke, Cory has received what seems like endless offers from all top football schools. Cory was offered by 2017-2018’s champion team Alabama this year amongst many big name schools; Stanford, Michigan, Notre Dame, Boston College, Penn State, etc. Cory is unaware when and who he is going to commit to at the moment. His favorite professional team is the Los Angeles Chargers and his current favorite player is Jarvis Landray.
When not on the field Cory takes his studies very seriously and wants to continue on with this mentality in college as well. He has about a 3.4 GPA and thrives in his math courses. In college he thinks he wants to study get a degree in a business major. Cory’s friends and family say he is one of the most passionate and driven kids they’ve seen in a while. He is determined to be the best player he could be yet knows how to keep a humble persona. He is a very easy going and caring teenager. Overdrive Elite Coach Carrington quoted on Cory saying “He is the most hard working kid I’ve worked with, always is respectful and his ceiling is high.” Renick, Overdrive Elite’s other trainer started with Cory when he was 15 and would describe Cory as “very mature for his age and has the correct mentality to make it at the highest level.”
Our third Athlete of the Month goest to 14 year old, Kim Saunders from Stamford. She just finished her freshman year at Stamford High school. During her freshman year she played both volleyball and softball. Kim was on their varsity softball team this past season as a pitcher and third baseman playing in nearly every game. She threw a perfect game in their win against Staples. By the end of her freshman season Kim had hit 6 home runs as well. Kim was awarded 2nd Team all FCIAC as a freshman.
Kim started playing softball about 6 years ago and has been training with B.V.S.A Coach Danielle Simoneau for 5 years. Kim hopes to go on and play college softball after she graduates high school. Her dream schools are Texas A&M where her father attended college. Other schools she is interested in include The University of Rhode Island and The University of Virginia. Kim helps other kids improve their game too at the B.V.S.A softball summer camp.
Off the field Kim is very into her studies as well. She is in all honors classes making honor role each term at Stamford High School. Social Studies is her favorite subject. When Kim goes on to college, she thinks she will want to study business. Kim Saunders is a young star on and off the field and if she keeps up the hard work, she’ll be a very successful student-athlete.
Jack, A.K.A “Jackie Boy Baseball” started coming to the Academy at age 5, when he told Frank he “wanted to be on the Furry (not Fury) team”. Jack made his first BVSA Fury team for the 10’s at age 8 and has played 10 consecutive seasons since, earning 4 team tournament championships along the way. Jack is currently playing for three baseball teams this Spring; 13U Fury, 12U Darien Blue Hawks and for Masonic in the Darien Little League baseball program.
In 2015 he was on the Darien Little League Championship, Team Merrill Lynch, has played in 2 All-Star games and most recently was on the 11U Connecticut Little League District 1 championship team in 2017, finishing the Districts season with,17 hits, 4 doubles, 4 home runs, 11 runs scored, 11 RBIs, batting .567 with an OBP of .581 and slugging 1.1 over the 8 game tournament. He finished the 2017 season with 21 career over-the-wall home runs.
Off the field, Jack is a 7th grader at Middlesex Middle School on Darien and is a lifelong Mets, Jets and Islanders fan. He and his younger brother Colin are licensed State of Connecticut boat captains. In 2015, Jack was able to take batting practice at Citi-Field with the Mets and got to announce the starting lineup on the Stadium Scoreboard and on national TV.
Our first Athlete of the Month goes to our very own Abe Wheeler. Abe’s story and work ethic are inspiring.
Last fall Abe was losing weight and suffering from intense stomach pain. He was missing a lot of school and really lagging in football. He made many visits to doctors and specialists trying to find out the cause. He underwent countless tests and procedures. He tried multiple medications and dietary restrictions with complicated regimens – all of which he adhered to with great self-discipline. Nothing worked.
In January, after a series of remarkable events, he was tested for a condition called MALS – Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome. On March 1st he tested positive and underwent a serious open abdominal surgery. The surgery was performed by the leading MALS specialist in the country who is miraculously based in Fairfield, CT. Abe rallied and blew all the nurses and doctors away at his speedy recovery. He spent only three of the six predicted nights in the hospital. He missed half the school time the doctors expected. As of today, he has gained back 7 of the 10 pounds he lost and is back to his energetic and fun-loving self!
The more we learn about MALS, the more blessed we feel to have found it so quickly, to have had it successfully treated and to see his physical stamina returning way ahead of what was anticipated. Watching him slide face first on the ball diamond with zero inhibition this weekend reassured us he’s back!! Abe loves baseball and the boys/coaches he plays with. He has a carefree confidence at bat, and his timing and swagger are returning. He sports an impressive new “zipper” (scar) and he’s proud to show anyone who asks – or doesn’t ask for that matter.
– Wheeler Family
First County Bank along with Bobby Valentine and his team are excited to announce a new collaboration between First County Bank and the Bobby Valentine Sports Academy (BVSA). First County Bank is now the official field sponsor of BVSA’s new 40,000 square foot indoor sports facility.
BVSA has been in Stamford for over 12 years and recently moved into its new facility located at 4 Largo Drive in Stamford, CT. The new BVSA building boasts 40 foot ceilings, a 15,000 square foot turf field, two multi-surface areas and six batting cages. On any given day, you can observe one-on-one baseball and softball instruction, team practice on the full field, lacrosse skill training and IQ development, soccer team/small group training, football practice for local high schools and even large scale community events that can host over 800 guests.
“First County Bank’s relationship with Bobby Valentine and BVSA is exciting to the Bank and exemplifies its mission to support local communities in Fairfield County. The BVSA facility is quickly becoming a sporting home for young athletes and families in Fairfield County, and hosts corporate events, fundraisers and sporting tournaments,” said Rey Giallongo, Jr., chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “The functionality of the facility and its multi-sport activities provide opportunities for the community to train, network and create lasting relationships which supports our strategic community-minded mission.”
“First County Bank has been servicing our community since 1851. They have a personalized approach to customer service as does BVSA. We believe when you find a partner that treats others the same way you do, it makes for a great like-minded relationship,” said Bobby Valentine. “I am thrilled with our partnership with First County Bank. Teaming up with such a great local banking institution is an honor.” Mr. Valentine is a Stamford native and has been a First County Bank customer for most of his life.
Excerpt from: http://www.stamfordplus.com