CLARKS SUMMIT — Two Abington area youngsters recently had the opportunity to practice on the same field where top soccer players from around the world compete during the Major League Soccer (MLS) season.
Nate Steenback, 11, a student at Abington Heights Middle School and Madelyn Hoinowski, 10, who attends Waverly Elementary School, were two of 75 children who won a contest offered to PPL Electric Utilities customers who have kids who love to play soccer.
They were given the opportunity to train at PPL Park in Chester, the home of the Philadelphia Union, and meet two of the team’s players, Sebastien Le Toux and Ray Gaddis, on Sunday, May 3.
“The funny thing is in our family, (Nate) always wins stuff like that,” Kathy Steenback, Nate’s mom, said. “We just threw his name out there thinking there are hundreds of people that are going to enter. He just seems to always have that luck.”
The players went through a series of drills including volleying, a scrimmage, juggling, and one-on-one moves.
“It was a lot of ball control,” Steenback said. “I wasn’t that great at volleying, but it really helped and my cousin, Kaila Steenback, helped me with it more.”
Madelyn listed meeting the players on the Union and asking them questions about their soccer careers as her favorite part of the experience, which she described as an “incredible time.”
“My favorite station was when they showed us new moves, because when you are playing soccer you can use those moves.” Madelyn said.
Both Nate and Madelyn began playing soccer at the age of 5 through the Abington Youth Soccer program.
Steenback has been a member of the Abington Strikers of the Abington Soccer Club for the past four years.
“I enjoy playing defense more than anything else,” Steenback said.
According to Lori Hoinowski, Madelyn’s mom, she first got involved with soccer through her brother.
“Her older brother, Nathan, was playing recreational soccer and she wants to do whatever the big brother is doing,” Lori said.
Madelyn’s favorite aspects about soccer are “playing with friends and trying something new.”
She has played with the Abington Precision of the Abington Soccer Club for the past two years.
“She is a very shy person, so the last couple years with the travel soccer team have really helped her grow as a person and as an athlete,” Lori said.