The Toll Gate soccer teams wrapped up historic seasons for the school, as the Titan girls claimed their second state championship in three years and the boys reached the finals after an undefeated …
The Toll Gate soccer teams wrapped up historic seasons for the school, as the Titan girls claimed their second state championship in three years and the boys reached the finals after an undefeated regular season.
Local twins Brooklyn and Brodie Marinelli were right in the center of the action, serving as team captains and simultaneously producing at the highest level. Brooklyn was recently named to the coaches’ All-Division III team as well as All-State, while Brodie scored a goal in the semifinals to send the Titans to the title game against Scituate.
Their soccer journeys began when they were 2 years old and they played with one another for seven years at Ocean State North Kingstown as children.
“We played with each other for seven years and it was a great time. We pushed each other a lot, it was always a competition, we were always outside trying to get better and to be the best that we could be,” said Brooklyn.
Although the two certainly developed a rivalry at times, their goal was always to help one another reach their peak performance.
“We liked to think there was a rivalry between us. We would always try to see who was better at each position, who could score more goals. But at the end of the day, we were really just trying to push each other to be better,” said Brodie.
The duo always wanted to play for the Titans and their dreams came true early in their high school careers. Brooklyn made the team as a freshman and Brodie made varsity as a sophomore, which was the first year that players were eligible to do so on the boys side.
“It was cool to be able to tell our family that we would both be playing on a varsity team at the same school and to see us do well early on,” said Brodie.
“It was an amazing feeling when I found out and I was shocked. All of the hard work that we put in over those seven years had finally paid off,” added Brooklyn, who was thrilled to see all of the extra time she and her brother dedicated over the years together guide them to success. “We helped each other’s confidence and we played a lot which helped us develop our skills. Other kids would play at practice, but Brodie and I could always come home and continue to practice and play whenever we wanted.”
Heading into their senior years, the twins along with their teammates felt that they had something to prove. The girls were moved down to Division III after reaching the playoffs the season before in Division II. The boys were coming off of a down season and looked to turn things around.
The girls also faced quite a bit of adversity, seeing three of their starters lost for the year due to injury in the preseason. However, they would roll to a first-place finish in the regular season and would get a win over Westerly in the championship game. The Bulldogs handed the Titans their only league loss in the regular season, so Toll Gate also got to enjoy some redemption.
“We were aggravated that we couldn’t stay in Division II. We were there because we won the championship my sophomore year, so this year we knew we had to win it. We just kept working hard and pushing each other, then it happened and we began winning games. When we got to the championship, we were like, ‘this is what we’ve worked for,’” said Brooklyn. “It was crazy, it was one of the best feelings that I’ve ever had. It was not an easy game, we worked so hard, so to come out with a win was amazing.”
The boys rolled to an undefeated, second-place finish in Division IV and would make it all the way to penalty kicks in the finals. Although the Titans came up short, Brodie appreciated the chance to compete in a championship atmosphere his final high school season.
“It was exciting to see that if we played together and worked hard that we could make it to the championship. The outcome was not what we wanted, but it was a lot of fun and it was a good experience,” said Brodie.
The twins are each exploring the possibility of playing college soccer and are planning on being involved in the sport for the rest of their lives. They are both open to coaching down the road as well.
Their mother, Jen, who was also a lifelong soccer player, was proud of their high school finales. Seeing things come full circle has been surreal for her and the rest of the Marinelli family.
“The pride, I can’t even tell you. It still brings tears to my eyes when I talk about it. I was so happy for them and it was such a cool feeling being there night after night, being with our family and friends at all the playoff games. There were some long nights, some stressful nights, but it was so much fun,” said Jen. “I’ve had to have watched thousands of games in the past 17 years so to see them finish their high school careers like that was amazing, I can’t even put it into words.”
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