Soccer runs in Kassie Sullivan’s family.
And not just playing it.
Sullivan is a senior center midfielder on the Franklin Towne Charter High School soccer team. Her sister Maura is a freshman on the team. Her brother Dennis and youngest sister Mairead also play, just as her grandfather did, and all of his children, including her dad, Dennis.
She also follows in her dad’s footsteps in other ways.
“My grandpop played and all of his kids played,” said Sullivan, who lives in Bridesburg. “My dad played and all of us played.
“My dad coached me my entire life, he loves soccer, he got us all involved. He’s the coach of the Father Judge freshmen team. He taught me everything I know about soccer, I learned so much from him.”
Not just how to play, but how to coach.
While Sullivan is primarily a player, she has dipped her toe into the coaching pool, and enjoyed it very much. It not only was fun to be a coach, but it taught her how to attack the game while playing.
“My aunt coached my sister’s team, and I helped her, and then I coached a team in Beach Blast,” Sullivan said. “We won a game and lost two. But when I was helping my aunt, we were really good. They had a great year. After the year, they got coaches who could be there more, but it was a great first year.”
Sullivan wasn’t blowing off practice, she was working hard on her game. And she’s now one of the top players in the Public League and a leader on one of the top teams in the area.
Franklin Towne always has one of the best teams in the city, and the Warriors are a fixture in the Public League championship game.
When Sullivan was a freshman, the Warriors won the Public League championship. Last year, Franklin Towne fell to Central in the title game, the same team it bested three years ago. Those years sandwiched the 2020-2021 season, when the school opted out of athletics due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sitting out a season hurt because Sullivan loves playing the sport, but it also set the Warriors back. No season means no practice. It means no experience for 12 months. It wasn’t what Sullivan and her teammates wanted, but they wouldn’t use it as an excuse, either.
“It felt really good to make the championship last year because we didn’t play the year before, but it hurt really bad to lose,” Sullivan said. “It felt so good to win a championship when we were freshmen.”
It’s a feeling she hopes to have once again.
The Warriors are again one of the top teams in the Public League, and Franklin Towne is always a favorite to bring home the championship.
In fact, it’s almost strange that the Warriors have gone back-to-back years without a championship. Last year was a great showing, getting back to the title game on the heels of missing a season. But Sullivan has no excuses, just goals.
“(Winning a championship) was something I never experienced,” Sullivan said. “It was a whole new environment, because proud of yourself and your team. You won against a competitive team. Central is a great rivalry. Always a good matchup, an interesting game, one of the best games we have. So when you win a championship, it feels so good.
“Our goal is always to win the championship. We have a great team and great coaches, so we always want to win the Public League championship. That’s the goal.”
Sullivan is also starting to look toward the future. She knows she wants to go to college and is undecided about playing. A lot of that depends on where she ends up.
“I’m looking local, but keeping options open, I could always go out of state, but I’d like to stay local,” said Sullivan, who works at a pizza place as a counter girl during her free time. “I’m thinking about it, it will probably be focusing on academics more, but I want to keep my options open for soccer.
“For a major, I’m looking in medical, most likely nursing. I think it’s good to help people, I took anatomy last year and it’s interesting how everything in the body works, so it’s interesting and you can help people.”
And while she’s at college, she’ll be keeping an eye on the Warriors.
This year’s team is very young, and Sullivan believes the girls on this team are capable of incredible things.
“My goal this year is to have a really successful team and leave them with something they can carry on and take it with them every game when I’m not there,” Sullivan said. “We have just two seniors, a bunch of juniors. This is their second year. A lot of our team is young. They’re really talented, so they could be good for a while.”
But she wants to leave her legacy at the school. The future is bright for the Warriors, but for Sullivan, the future is now.
“On the field, I feel like when I’m on the field, I keep it simple,” Sullivan said. “That’s how to win this year. A lot of the time, we might try to play the other team’s game. If we play how they play, keep everything calm, play the ball, keep possession. If we do that, we can be very good.”