NC Girls Directors
As a way to maximize our club potential, Team 91 Carolina Girls will now be led in a split position. Leadership will now include a director for the youth ages (Futures to 7th Grade) and one for the High School ages (8th grade - Fall 12th grade). By dividing the program the specialized needs of the groups will have a consistent and constant focus on improving and advancing all age groups. The directors will work collaboratively to ensure a consistent culture is felt throughout the program and a smooth transition for our girls and families.
We will also continue to utilize the skill sets of Tom Street and Craig Reist as Directors of Recruiting Support.
Youth Co-Directors - Sam & Emily Sopko
Sam Sopko grew up in Long Island, New York, and has been in North Carolina for 4 and a half years. Sam has a bachelor's degree in Physical Education and a master's degree in Athletic Administration. She grew up in a lacrosse household that valued the game. As a player, she ran the midfield and started playing lacrosse at a young age. In terms of coaching experience, she started coaching for the Sachem School District (Long Island) in 2015 at the Middle School level for 3 years before moving off the island. Since moving to North Carolina, starting in the summer of July 2019 Sam has been coaching travel lacrosse alongside her sister-in-law Emily, who is our other youth teams director. In addition to co-directing the youth program, Sam coaches alongside Matt Cope working with the 2030’s group. Her husband Kyle also coaches on the 91 boys' side(2024’s and 2026’s age groups). They have a 2-and-a-half-year-old son Tanner who loves the game also.
Sam's 91 Lacrosse Vision and Beliefs:
"I am all about building culture. I truly believe if we build a solid and strong foundation from the bottom up it will continue to grow bigger and better as each season goes on. Specifically, at the youth levels, we will drive off the development of all skills to grow lacrosse players who can play all over the field and feel confident in the skills practiced in gameplay. Communication is another area I believe in and that we can improve moving forward. With my administration background, I will make sure information is laid out in a clear and concise manner and details are provided. Weekly messages will go out to the program highlighting our youth teams, players, tournaments and all that Team 91 has to offer. I am a big social media person and want to help put our 91 girls on the map showcasing their incredible skills, and talented tournament showings. Team 91 Carolina is where the best girls play and where your children will have a great travel lacrosse experience that will help develop them for the future."
Emily Sopko grew up in Shoreham, New York, and graduated from Shoreham Wading River High School in 2015. She was a 3-sport varsity athlete playing Soccer, Winter Track, and Lacrosse. Emily was a member of the Shoreham Wading River Girls Varsity Lacrosse team the year they won a New York State Championship lacrosse title in 2012. Emily graduated from High Point University where she earned a degree in Biology with a concentration in Health Science and played for the High Point University Club lacrosse team. In college, she coached the Women’s Varsity Lacrosse team at Glenn High School in Kernersville, NC during the spring of 2019. After graduating, Emily moved to the Raleigh area and soon began her teaching career at Green Level high school as a Health Science teacher. She has been a part of the Green Level Girls Lacrosse coaching staff since 2020 and 2022 is her first year as the varsity head coach.
Emily's 91 Lacrosse Vision and Beliefs:
"My goal for this program is to help solidify a rec program in the Raleigh/Cary/Apex/Holly Springs area and provide athletes with a new way to get involved in lacrosse! I began playing lacrosse in 2nd grade and I believe that getting players started earlier in the game will create a good foundation of stick skills and fundamentals of lacrosse. I look forward to starting this rec program in an effort to help grow the game we all love."
High School Director - Kristy Newitt
Kristy is from Radnor, PA, and comes from a family of lacrosse players. She was taught by her grandfather and attempted to follow in the footsteps of her older sister. She played defense at Colgate University (D1) where her team won two Patriot League Championships and went on to play in the first round of the NCAA D1 playoffs. She has been coaching at the club level since 2015 working with girls at both the youth and HS levels. She has coached the classes of 2018, 2019, and 2024 through the recruiting process and understands the importance of helping girls individually and at the team level prepare to compete at high levels and demonstrate skills coaches are looking for. Outside of lacrosse, she has her MEd in Professional School Counseling with an add-on license in School Leadership. She is the Counselor Coordinator for Cumberland County Schools and lives in Fuquay-Varina, NC.
Kristy's 91 Lacrosse Vision and Beliefs:
"As I transition into this new role it was my goal of creating a culture where our high school teams are involved in the best tournaments and in the right divisions, our coaches and players are supported, and our families needs are being met. I believe in full transparency and recognize that in order to be successful communication is key. I will do my best to answer emails within 24-48 hours and update our players and families regarding tournaments, practices, tryouts, and other items that develop. One area that is extremely important to me is the development of the player as a whole. I value the voice of our female players and see lacrosse as an avenue that includes playing a sport they love, but also as a means for helping them learn how to advocate, negotiate, compromise, fail, and succeed as they continue to develop as individuals. Because of this mentality, the expectation will be that our girls take the lead when it comes to talking to coaches regarding playing time, positions, and the recruiting process. Parents are a key to their success; however, learning these key skills will only benefit them in becoming strong, independent, and confident young women that will take them through life. Another focus is going to be helping and supporting our head coaches to understand the individual needs of their players and how they see lacrosse fitting into their future. The more we understand who our players are, and how they learn and respond, the better they will be on and off the field. In terms of coaching I will be finishing out with my 2024 family this summer and fall (2023); however, I will also begin assisting other teams as they enter the fall of the sophomore year through the fall of the junior year."