Junior Bonfigli playing an important role on the pitch

As the 2009 season for the UVM women’s soccer team unfolds, a leader has been found in junior midfield and forward Gabby Bonfigli.

Originally from Essex, Bonfigli has started in all seven games this season and leads the team with two goals.

“Gabby is a key factor; she is a game changer for us,” head coach Kwame Lloyd said.

Becoming a playmaker for a team takes a great deal of skill. This she learned from being raised playing soccer.

“I started playing soccer when I was five, and club when I was eight,” Bonfigli said. “I have been playing basically my whole life.”

While having fun throughout her years of playing soccer, she has always had a strong determination to reach the top since the dawn of her soccer career.

“My dad would always remind me that when I was 12, I told him that I was going to play Division I soccer and I didn’t know where yet but it was just a goal of mine, and he supported it,” Bonfigli said.

Yet her aspirations were not always toward playing soccer at the University of Vermont.

“I never wanted to come to UVM when I was younger because it was way too close,” Bonfigli said.

Being so close to home may have an impact on her while she plays at Centennial Field, all five of her UVM career goals were scored on the home field.

“I really love playing at Centennial Field,” Bonfigli said. “I have a lot of family here. I look forward to every game where they can watch me.

“I am just as excited and pumped up for away games but it’s just how it’s turned out. I just love being home and having all the support of the community.”

It is not proven that the excitement Bonfigli receives from playing at home changes her style of play. What is known is that her presence on the team affects everyone around her.

She takes on a role as one of the leaders on the team, being one of the older players on a young team with 13 freshmen.

“I think her leadership style is more by example this year than it is being a vocal leader but she’s trying to show them how they are and aren’t supposed to hold themselves on and off the field and setting a work ethic and training ethic that sets a good tone for the freshman,” Lloyd said.

Even though Bonfigli is at the point where she can give pointers to the younger players, she still strives to learn more about the game and find out what can make her and her team better.

“As a coach, you want to be around those kids who don’t know it all, and Gabby is a student of the game and she’s a sponge and so she is always looking to get better,” Lloyd said. “It’s fun to be around her because we know she will seek challenges.”

With America East Conference play starting soon, the Vermont women’s soccer team will look for the leadership of Bonfigli to guide them through a successful season.