Longtime faculty member Donna Bednarsky P ’08, ’10, ’14, ’17 has worn many hats in her 20+ years working for GSB: Middle School, Lower School, and Early Childhood P.E. Teacher, Sports Information Director, Assistant Swimming Coach, Assistant Softball Coach, Assistant Girls’ Soccer Coach, Booster Club Liaison, and Substitute Teacher, to name a few. With this most recent appointment to Head Varsity Girls’ Soccer Coach for the Fall 2022 season, she returns to her passion and her roots.
“I began my career at Gill coaching Varsity Girls’ Soccer in the 90’s,” Bednarsky explained. “I love being involved in all the different aspects of athletics, but soccer is my lifelong passion.”
Throughout her tenure as former head coach of Gill’s varsity Girls’ Soccer program (1994-99), Bednarsky accumulated more than 100 career wins and three Prep B Championships. An All-American soccer player herself, Bednarsky is no stranger to the work required on the field. She played Division 1 soccer for four years with the University of Connecticut, making it to the NCAA Finals three times, and received an invitation to participate in the United States Olympic Festival.
“Because we’re a smaller school, we have to be in better shape than everyone else,” Bednarsky shared about her training philosophy. “We need to approach every moment with a competitive attitude.”
Soccer is not only a lifelong pursuit for the former college athlete, it is a family affair. Her husband, Middle School History Teacher Tony Bednarsky, has held the Head Varsity Boys’ Soccer Coach position at Gill St. Bernard’s since 1989. All four of her children, Peter ’08, Andrew ’10, Katy ’14, and Stevo ’17, played soccer at Gill and transitioned into college athletes upon graduation. After college, Andrew entered the soccer coaching profession, first coaching at Hobart and then Navy. Their youngest, Stevo, was recently signed to a professional contract by New York City Football Club II (NYCFC II).
“Soccer is in our family’s blood,” Bednarsky joked. “When the opportunity came up to return as head of the girls' team, I had to say yes.”
Coach Bednarsky will be joined by two talented assistant coaches with extensive experience. Jonna DeFalco is a current GSB middle school health and P.E. teacher and a former GSB Girls’ Varsity Soccer coach who happened to coach Bednarsky’s daughter. DeFalco’s accolades include being named Somerset County Coach of the year by the Home News & Tribune, finishing her head coaching career with 100 wins, and being captain of the Rowan University Girls’ Varsity Soccer team her senior year.
Cassie (Golden) Cascini ’99 is a former GSB Girls’ Varsity Soccer player and GSB Sports Hall of Fame inductee who happened to play for Bednarsky during her championship run in the 90’s. The Drew University soccer player started her club soccer career under the eye of Tony Bednarsky and also had the opportunity to coach the Bednarskys’ daughter. The opportunity to join the coaching staff alongside her former mentor has brought her journey full circle.
Outside of soccer, Bednarsky admits that her favorite aspect of working at Gill is watching the children grow.
“I start my day teaching P.E. with 3-year-olds, and I end my day coaching 18-year-olds. Some of the kids I’m coaching now, I taught when they were in pre-school! It’s fascinating to see how they’ve developed over time and to be a part of that growth.”
Congratulations, Coach Bednarsky, and we can’t wait to see you on the sidelines!