BEACON FALLS — On a blustery day of practice atop Woodland’s soccer pitch, Dante and Devon Polletta don’t wear numbered jerseys. For the guys who are around the identical twins every day, there’s no issue.
“I don’t get them screwed up,” Hawks coach Kenan Collins says, “but it’s funny when other people do.”
With that knowledge in mind, there is only one way to start an interview with the senior co-captains.
“I’m Devon — with an ‘o,’” one says.
“Dante,” follows the other.
The separate introductions can’t be that uncommon, but with a month left in their final high school soccer season, they admit that their teammates rarely confuse the duo.
“Not that often, honestly,” Devon notes. “We’re really tight.”
The Hawks, who finished as the Naugatuck Valley League runner-up in the Pollettas’ junior season and have a chance to win the title this fall, may be tight as a unit, but it doesn’t compare to what the twins say happens on the pitch.
“It’s obvious twin telepathy,” says Dante, who wears No. 25. “We feel it. I’ll know where he is from 20 yards away. In my mind, I know where he is pretty much at all times. You’re not going to believe me, but it’s true.”
“We’ve been playing with each other for so long — since we were about 4 — that the chemistry is so strong,” agrees Devon, No. 7. “I just know at all times what he’s going to do and where he’s going to be. It’s so nice.”
An invisible connection between the Prospect natives? It’s probably a bit more visible than they even realize.
“They know where each other is without seeing it,” Collins says. “You can see it. Dante will know when Devon’s making a run, and vice versa, before they even get the ball. Playing them both in the middle is a joy to watch.”
Collins also knew entering this season that it would be a no-brainer to choose the Polletta twins as two of his four captains.
“They’re the type of kids who you want as captains because they’re so well-rounded,” Collins says. “They’re good kids, they’re great players, they’re great teammates, and the chemistry they have together is indicative of all the experience they have.”
The Pollettas may be similar players, but they each have a particular strength.
“We may play the same positions, but our styles are a little different,” Devon says. “He’s been more of an attacker and I’ve been more of a defender.”
Dante was quick to note that through the first nine games of this season he was the only Polletta to find the back of the net. (Just once.) Devon tied his brother in the Hawks’ 10th game with a goal in a 3-1 win over Watertown Oct. 12. The Hawks since improved to 9-2 on the season with a 5-2 win over Oxford on Tuesday. Dante had an assist in the game.
Dante edged his brother in scoring last season due in part to his ability to stretch the field.
“Dante is great at going forward,” Collins says. “Sometimes, I’ll stick Devon in the back and he’ll do a job for me. I love having them both in the middle of the park. Dante has a deadly left foot and he can strike a ball with both feet pretty well. They both bring something to the table. What they lack in height, they make up for it because they put the ball on the ground and you’re going to have a hard time taking it from them.”
Those skills didn’t come from nowhere. Luckily for the Pollettas, each brother has always enjoyed a built-in practice partner.
“It helps growing up when you have someone you can play with every minute of every day,” Dante says. “It’s always been cool having someone who’s the same as you to play with constantly.”
“Ever since we were younger, it was like, ‘Dad, drop us off at the park,’” Devon adds. “The two of us would play, do our drills, and it would help because we were working on the same drills on the same team. We’re trying to get better together, so why not do it with the man you love the most?”
With two weeks left in the regular season and hopefully three left in the postseason, the twins know their high school soccer careers are close to ending. But no matter how this year concludes, the Pollettas don’t have any plans on splitting up their two-man team anytime soon.
They plan on attending college together because as Dante says, “we come as a package deal.”
“It’s been awesome. I don’t want it to end,” Devon says. “Hopefully after college, whether we play adult league or wherever, we’re still going to play together, side by side. We don’t care — we come as a pair, and that ain’t changing.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article published in the Oct. 17 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on games played after press time on Oct. 11.