Millis, Ashland Soccer Teams To Play at Gillette Stadium

By Ken Hamwey, Staff Sport Writer
Issue Date: 
September, 2017
Article Body: 

Millis and Ashland will be facing off against one another in boys and girls soccer on Monday, Sept. 18, at a very prestigious venue — Gillette Stadium.
The varsity teams from both towns will be making their first appearances on the New England Revolution’s home turf, which also just happens to be where the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady compete.
The boys contest will begin at 5 p.m. and the girls match is scheduled for 7 p.m. The junior varsity teams from both schools will conduct a scrimmage during the intermission breaks for both the boys and girls. At 4:30, the color guards from both schools will perform and youth teams from the two towns will run across the field.
Steve Bailen, the Millis girls coach, was the key in securing Gillette as the site. “I’ve got a friend who works at Gillette Stadium, and he informed me about the Revolution’s desire to invite high school soccer teams from various communities to play at Gillette,’’ Bailen said. “I met with the Revs, got the details and eventually got the approval.’’
The primary stipulation to play in Foxboro involved both communities selling 500 Revolution tickets each. One thousand tickets were sold, ensuring that Millis and Ashland will compete at the prominent facility.
“When I got the approval, I chose Ashland to be our opponent,’’ Bailen said. “I thought about what school would provide a good competitive matchup. I knew that Medfield and Medway had already played at Gillette. So, I called Traci Sipniewski, the Ashland girls coach, and we both felt that Millis and Ashland could sell the tickets. When Ashland’s administration approved the site, we were all set.’’
A native of Tennessee, Sipniewski, who took the Ashland coaching reins three years ago, inherited a squad that was winless in 2013. The Clockers, however, improved quickly and became a tourney participant last year, posting a 7-7-4 record. The 37-year-old coach will be leaving Ashland after the season to relocate in Memphis. Playing in Foxboro no doubt will be a lasting memory for her.
“It’ll be such a thrill for the players and for me,’’ Sipniewski said. “When we agreed to the site, it was so neat to see both towns get behind their teams and help sell tickets. The Revs are going to grass-root communities to promote soccer.’’
Bailen, who previously coached boys soccer at Millis, now is in his third year directing the girls squad, which last year compiled an impressive 10-4-4 regular-season record and split a pair of games in the tourney.
“Playing at Gillette will be a great experience not only for the high school players, but also for both communities,’’ Bailen said. “Hopefully, it’ll be a great town-wide experience. This will be a fantastic event and one that many people will remember for a long time.’’