Kim Marra doesn’t just play soccer. The Long Island Rough Riders women’s team captain is also a student of the game, spending the time she isn’t on the field on the touchline as a coach.
“It is definitely a different perspective of the game,” Marra said. “That knowledge also contributes to how I play. I like his style and we see eye to eye on a lot of things in the game.”
Marra, who served as Rough Riders captain for the second consecutive season, set the tempo for the team, whether it was through her leadership in the midfield or stepping into the backline when needed.
For those reasons and more, Kim Marra has been named the 2018 Rough Riders UWS Player of the Year.
“She’s a true captain,” Diallo said. “She had a solid season leading our team as captain and was very influential in the middle of the field.”
Marra’s role increased as Long Island underwent changes prior to the 2018 season. Diallo replaced former head coach Adam Whitehead less than two weeks before the campaign began. As Diallo was getting acclimated with his new roster, Marra and the other returning players strengthened their bond, hoping to build off of last season’s run to the UWS National Championship Semifinal.
“I took it not just as a role as captain but to assist Karim as much as I could to help ease the transition with him coming in this summer,” Marra said. “I think for the most part of worked really well. We struggled in the beginning but found that chemistry toward the end. Although we didn’t make it into the playoffs, finishing third isn’t too bad, I’d say.”
The Rough Riders were unable to string consecutive victories together throughout the first seven matches of the season, only earning points in consecutive matches on June 3 – a 1-1 draw with Rochester Lancers – and June 6 – a 3-1 win against New York Surf.
Despite the inconsistency, Long Island remained in the hunt for a playoff spot. The team rattled off three consecutive victories to close out the year – 3-2 against New England Mutiny (June 30), 9-1 against Worcester Smiles (July 7), and 1-0 against Inferno Rush (July 14). That string of results put pressure on the Connecticut Fusion, who needed points in their season finale in order to qualify for the playoffs.
The Rough Riders ended the season 5-3-2 with 17 points. Even though they didn’t earn a playoff berth in 2018, Marra is confident in the team heading into next season.
“After getting as far as we did last season and having a bit of a step back this season, we’re all excited for what’s to come next year,” Marra said. “We’ve always been good, but in the past two years we’ve been a top contender in the league. We’re super excited to come back next year and hopefully get back to the National Championship.”
BY: Michael LoRé