Legislator Pilip Honors Inaugural USMMA Women’s Soccer Team


The United States Merchant Marine Academy First Women’s
Soccer Team names Legislator Pilip honorary captain

Lou Bernardi, Assistant Baseball Coach and Recruiting Coordinator; Legislator Pilip and Athletic Director Kristofer Schnatz.
(Photo provided by the office of Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip)

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (District 10) visited the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) to support the Women’s Soccer Team before their first conference game. Located at 300 Steamboat Rd. in Kings Point, USMMA is a four-year university with a student population of just under 1,000 students.

USMMA’s Women’s Soccer team is the 19th D3 sport offered at the academy. So far, the soccer team has gone undefeated with a 5-0 winning streak. Unfortunately, the team lost 2-1 on Sept. 20 against Mount St. Vincent’s Women’s Soccer team. The team and coaching staff are thrilled to continue the season and play hard.


The USMMA Women’s Soccer Team with the coaching staff, Legislator Pilip and Deputy Superintendent RDML Susan L. Dunlap.

“It’s the first year of our women’s program, and we’re very proud of the group we’ve got,” said Head Coach Carlos Mendes. “We’ve gotten great support from the academy and from our county, so we’re excited to be here.”

The team consists of students in every grade level. Most of the upperclassmen on the team are athletes at the school in other sports, so when soccer was offered to women, they were eager to join. The seniors on the team are excited to get the opportunity to play for the team before they graduate.


Athletic Director Kristofer Schnatz with the Nassau County Legislature Citation, Legislator Pilip with the signed soccer ball and her daughter.

Legislator Pilip was joined by the academy’s Deputy Superintendent RDML Susan L. Dunlap to greet the team before the game. Legislator Pilip presented the team and coaching staff with individual Nassau County Legislature Citations to commend them for their hard work and honor their inaugural season.

Legislator Pilip congratulated the team and wished them good luck in the game. She was brought out on the field with the game referees and team captains to do the coin toss. The team presented Legislator Pilip with a soccer ball they all signed and named her an honorary captain to thank her for the support.

“It’s wonderful to see the team working together,” Legislator Pilip said while watching the game. “They are a new team, but they work together very well.”


Legislator Pilip discussing the academy and new Women’s Soccer team with Deputy Superintendent RDML Susan L. Dunlap. (Photos by Julie Prisco)

While watching the game, Legislator Pilip loudly cheered on the team and asked Athletic Director Kristofer Schnatz questions about the players and the team’s season.

“The women’s soccer team is brand new; it’s been two years in the making,” said Schnatz. “Coach Mendes is a great hire for us. Within the next two years, we’d like to get the roster up to 22 to 25 women on campus.”

Athletic Director Schnatz acknowledged that many people in the Great Neck community don’t really know what USMMA is and who they are. As a member of the Great Neck community, Schnatz is looking forward to growing the campus community and getting connected to the larger Great Neck community.

“We’re trying to do a better job at getting into the community and working with the PAL and other local organizations,” said Schnatz. “That’s always been a passion of mine as an Athletic Director; to get our athletes out there as much as we can. Their day is very long and stressful, but when we find those little windows of free time, they really enjoy getting off campus. So any chance we get the opportunity to highlight them, what they’re doing and bring people here, we always want to do that for them.”


Legislator Pilip doing the pre-game coin toss with the team captains.

It is free of charge and open to the public to see any sporting games at USMMA. The school has two turf fields, Brooks Stadium and Bartoszek Field, where the Women’s Soccer team plays. Bartoszek Field is relatively new and is still undergoing renovations to perfect the area. The turf field is done and is the perfect spot for the Women’s Soccer team and other sports to play. In addition, the announcer booth will be redone, and a large flag pole will be installed.

Legislator Pilip wished the team good luck on their inaugural season. The staff at USMMA is looking forward to seeing where the season goes. Athletic Director Schnatz shared that close to 250 students came down to watch the first Women’s soccer game earlier in the season, and since then, students have continued to show support for the new team.

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