With her Section V high school career in the rear-view mirror and her collegiate career about to begin this fall, Macaylah Arieno knew it was important to play with an upper-echelon team this summer.
The club level in the Rochester area just wasn’t going to cut it, not when she was trying to prepare for the jump to NCAA Division I soccer.
Arieno found the perfect place to hone her skills.
The Churchville-Chili senior is a midfielder with the Rochester Lady Lancers of United Women’s Soccer. She’s one of three about-to-graduate high school seniors on the roster for the first-year UWS club, joined by Mackenzie Allen of Aquinas and fellow Churchville-Chili teammate Rian McMullen.
“We have very high expectations for them,” Lady Lancers coach Loren Inglese said. “We don’t know how far this league can take them or how far their college careers can take them. But we’re excited that we can give them the opportunity to develop their games.
“They have a respect for the game, a respect for their coaches and a willingness to learn.”
They also have real talent. That’s why they were invited to join the Lady Lancers, who return to Charlie Schiano Sr. Field at Aquinas Institute to play the Long Island Rough Riders (1-0-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday. Rochester is 0-1-2 through three games.
Arieno is headed to East Carolina University, where she will juggle the D-I soccer life with the curriculum of a nursing major. She considered several schools, including the University of Rochester, Canisius, Niagara, Le Moyne and Edinboro University, before deciding on East Carolina’s Greenville, N.C., campus.
Her summer with the Lady Lancers will provide great preparation.
“The girls are really big, really fast and really skilled,” Arieno said. “I already know my touches need to be quicker. If I didn’t have this (opportunity), I don’t think I’d be much of anything in college.”
That’s a big part of what UWS is about: providing the avenues for skill enhancement and development.
“She’s going to learn a few lessons about pace of play and the ability of players she’ll see at ECU,” Inglese said.
Inglese had a slight advantage when he asked Arieno and McMullen to join the club. He had coached them at Churchville-Chili when they were sophomores. He is impressed as much by Arieno’s intuitive senses and he is her skill set.
“You can find players with size and skill but you can’t always find a player with the technique, tactics and field vision,” Inglese said. “It’s very difficult to teach instincts. Macaylah has great raw technique. But what I really like is that she plays with an understanding of the game that’s beyond her years.
McMullen is a defender and central midfielder who is all about hard work and determination. She has, Inglese said, “has the same upside as Macaylah.
Allen is a blend of the other two. “She has most of Macaylah’s technique and most of Rian’s work ethic,” Inglese said.
The coach is quite sure other UWS teams don’t have three high schoolers on the field. He’s also pretty sure other teams don’t notice their inexperience.
“And that’s a tribute to their maturity,” he said. “They don’t get exposed.”