Marc My Words!

Marc Maturo’s official sports column

Soccer star Jean-Charles takes her talents to Oklahoma

Clarkstown South
Alumna carved path
At Monroe College

unnamed2 unnamedGetting from here to there in three easy steps.

By way of Monroe College in New Rochelle, New York —  while not overlooking an earlier stint in an Olympic Development Program — former four-year Clarkstown South High School soccer standout Christina Jean-Charles has taken another step forward with a powerhouse Division I program in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Jean-Charles, a New City resident with a soccer background in her pedigree, capped off an impressive national-title-winning season with the Mustangs by being named a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) first-team all-American. Then, to make matters better, Jean-Charles accepted an offer to take her talents to Oklahoma State to play for another accomplished and respected coach, Colin Carmichael.

Jean-Charles, whose dad, Pierre, played the sport in Haiti, is joining the Cowgirls after a standout career at Monroe College where the 5-foot-7 defender started 33 games in her career, and also achieved national academic honors.

To say the least, Jean-Charles is excited about her decision, which was made after meeting with Coach Carmichael and several players in Stillwater — and after also considering Texas Christian University, the University of Texas, Mississippi State, Florida Atlantic University and the University of North Carolina, among others.

“They have a great program, they have been very successful, and the girls here are great motivators. I’m learning (more) about the town and Oklahoma State, which also has a good academic program,” said Jean-Charles, who is studying exercise science en route to becoming a physical therapist.

“It’s a step up, but I’m always prepared and ready for any challenge,” continued Jean-Charles, who has one older sister and two younger sisters, both of whom are also playing soccer (Sophia is at Clarkstown South, and Briana is at High Point University in North Carolina.)

Christina said her family has always been supportive, and she expects they will travel to Oklahoma whenever possible.

She comes to Stillwater and Coach Carmichael with a solid background, forged in part playing for Coach-of-the-year Jonathan Garbar at Monroe, and her one-time coach in ODP, Jay Myers, who is an international coach at Monroe.

“I loved playing for him (Garbar),” she said. “He’s a great coach, very supportive, pushing all of us. Then there’s Jay Myers; I have to thank him for always keeping me involved, getting to the next step. He’s happy for me, of course.”

Carmichael, who has been with the Cowgirls program since its inception in 1996, earning Big 12 coach-of-the-year honors multiple times, had this to say about one of his newest players.

“(Jean-Charles) is a gifted student-athlete who has achieved tremendous success at the junior college level. She can play either center back or center midfield, which are two positions we felt needed to be strengthened after last fall. We expect Christina to compete for a spot immediately and look forward to having her train and play with us in our upcoming spring season.”

“I’ll play anywhere on the field,” noted Jean-Charles. “When there’s a chance, I’ll put it in the net.”

Jean-Charles played an integral role as Monroe went 18-1-1 to capture the NJCAA Division I national crown, recoding 11 shutouts and a seemingly impossible 0.57 goals-against-average.

Also honored with Christina were Garbar, who has developed seven all-Americans in his three years as head coach; sophomore defender Lorina White of Poughkeepsie; and Ana Carol Rodrigues of Brazil, who will continue her career at the University of Central Florida.

At Oklahoma State, Coach McMichael is entering his 20th season and has developed a dominating force in the Big 12.

ARMY SKATES ON: The Black Knights of the Hudson will renew their hockey rivalry with the Royal Military College for the fourth-straight year in a battle for the Challenge Cup at Tate Rink in West Point on January 24.  The game is set for 7:05 p.m. and is part of alumni weekend. Army is riding a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Paladins with its last win coming in 2002. Last season, Army made its first trip to Canada since 2006 and came away with a 5-2 win. The historic series dates to 1923 and was first started with Brig. General Douglas MacArthur, the superintendent of USMA, writing a letter to Maj. Gen. Sir Archibald MacDonnell, commandant of RMC, suggesting they compete.

QUICK HITTERS: The North Rockland HS Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner is set for January 24 at the Platzl Brauhaus in Pomona beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets at $65 each can be obtained by calling Joe Bernardo at 845-942-3364 or 429-3767. For further information contact the NRHS athletic office at 845-942-3391. … Junior Rod Taskindoust of New City placed second in the 200 individual medley as the New Paltz swimming team fell to visiting Cortland, 120-85, at Elting Pool. Taskindoust, a graduate of Clarkstown North HS, was clocked in2:08.94. … Junior Jason Quijada of Monsey, a transfer Rockland Community College, had 12 points and three assists as the Mercy College men’s basketball team bowed to Daemen College, 90-80, at Mercy Gymnasium in Dobbs Ferry. … Spring Valley HS alum Winslow Dorsainvil of Monsey set another record for the St. Thomas Aquinas College track and field team, running the 60 meters in 6.78 at the Gotham Cup. Dorsainvil placed fourth against competitors from Division I, Division II, Division III and open-class entrants. His time put him seventh overall in the nation. Gabriela Sloezen of Westwood, N.J., broke the school standard in the 500 with a time of 1:18.02. STAC next competes on Feb. 23 at the Metro Team Challenge at the Armory in upper Manhattan. … Paul Fields of New City went 2-2 at 125 pounds, all via the decision route, as Cortland finished third out of eight schools at the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference (ECWC) Championships at Oneonta. The Red Dragons’ Joe Giaramita of Elmwood successfully defended his 197-pound title. … Justin Reyes of Haverhill, Mass., scored 15 points as the St. Thomas Aquinas College basketball team moved to 9-8 following a 62-57 victory over Roberts Wesleyan. … Junior guard Joe Clinton of Pearl River tied his career high with 10 assists, to go along with eight points, six rebounds and two steals, but it was not enough as the Dominican College basketball team suffered a sixth straight loss, 77-76 to the visiting Bears of Bloomfield College in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) game at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg. Nick Smith of Middletown led three Chargers in double figures as he came off the bench to net 20 points and block two shots. In the women’s game, sophomore Shannon McGill of Staten Island led all scorers with 15 points to spark the Lady Chargers to a 56-50 triumph.  Deja Gabbidon of Teaneck, N.J., had her first and game’s only double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds for Dominican. … Stephanie Frank, a graduate of North Rockland HS, averaged 168 and was named to the all-Tournament team as the Westchester Community College women’s bowling squad finished second in the Viking Classic at Wallingford Bowl in Wallingford, Conn. The Vikings were 1,600 pins behind Suffolk CC.

THIS & THAT: Come one, come all, suggests veteran St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball coach Scott Muscat. The Spartans, who are the defending East Coast Conference and NCAA Division II East Region champions, kick off the new season on Feb. 22 with their sixth annual Pasta Dinner Night at Bottoms Up Restaurant & Pub, which will be providing all of the Italian food fare. Beer & wine will be available at additional cost. Jamie Keefe, manager of the 2014 Cam-Am League Champion Rockland Boulders, will be the guest speaker. Access: https://docs.google.com/a/stac.edu/forms/d/1Wuo1fnAeO6RywdlSlo8Kcthz0Ry6iM6Xmn9u3JhoKb4/viewform