Boys and girls are both excited and ready for the upcoming soccer season. Both teams made it pretty far in playoffs last year but they are both all set to take their teams to state this soccer season.
“Pre-season started great, kids are playing well, they gel well, a lot of friendships, we are playing good,” boys soccer head coach Michael Barranco said. “The games are going to get harder as we progress throughout the year, but if we stay on the same track, stay humble and stay hungry we could do a good job this year.”
More than half of the boys’ team consists of seniors, which means this will be their last year and they expect to make it a good one.
“There are 17 seniors on this team and that’s probably one of the reason we have a chance to do really well. They’re great kids on the field, more importantly they’re great kids in the classroom, this is probably the smartest group of seniors I have ever coached, and with that, yes they are role models to the younger kids because they are student athletes and they really are students first, but it’s going to lead to success on the field and hopefully the younger kids do see that,” Barranco said.
With their being so many seniors, most of them have grown up throughout the years together which makes a better team chemistry for on and off the field.
“The team’s chemistry is really good being that the team is a bunch of seniors and we all know each other really well and I think it helps that we know each other on and off the field because it just helps us work together and understand each other a little bit better than normal,” senior Andrew McIlvoy said.
Upperclassmen have the job of being role models for the younger athletes.
“As a senior I think all the seniors on the team have to be role models to the younger guys just to show them the ropes and show them you know this needs to be done, teach them how to show up on time, what’s expected at practice, what’s expected in games, in and out of school and grades, so I think it is really important for seniors to set the example for all the younger guys,” McIlvoy said.
For the boys, they don’t have much of a tradition for directly before the game but more of a thing where they can all relax and get ready.
“The night before a game we have team dinners, so a different family will host it every game and the whole team will go over to their house and they’ll make hamburgers, hotdogs, whatever it is for that night and it just helps up build the team’s chemistry and helps us get ready for the next day,” McIlvoy said.
And some of the games are definitely worth some excitement.
“The Reagan game, Johnson rivalry is always the biggest, we will play Reagan twice in our district season so these are probably our two biggest games of our district season, especially the Finke Cup which is a special game between us and Reagan, probably even the biggest game and definitely our games between us and Reagan and us and Lee will be our hardest competition and best games to come out and watch,” McIlvoy said.
Along with the boys, the girls have also started off with a good start into per-season, and getting ready for districts.
“We’re looking good, we are passing the ball well and give first touches moving together well,” senior Colleen Gleason said, “From what I’ve seen, hopefully we’ll be first in districts, thats our goal as always.”
With their only being three seniors on the girls varsity team, compared to the boys, that is a small number therefore there being more of a responsibility put on the girls to be good role models on and off the field.
“As a senior it definitely is our responsibility to be someone that the other girls can look up to,” senior Raquel Morris said. “We have to show them what to do with both our actions and our words.”
Coming from a coach’s point of view, head varsity coach Kara Stracener believes that the seniors definitely have more responsibility and should be someone who the younger girls can look up to and come to for anything.
“They’ve been down the road before and they know what it’s like to be an underclassmen and what they have to go through to find their place on a team and so I expect them to reach out to those kids and make sure they make them feel like they have someone they can talk to and relate to because they have been in their shoes.” Stracener said.
As for getting ready for the game, the girls have their own special way of getting their head in the game and focusing on what to do every moment before they can lead their team to victory.
“When we prepare for a game there’s a lot of individual stuff going on like some people like listen to music and others like to nap. Before the game we lay down on the field in a circle around a cape and talk about what we’re gonna do that game to make it go the way we want it to.”Morris said.
It is no surprise everyone will show up to the Reagan game as it is our biggest rival, and the girls are more than ready to take them on.
“A game that everyone should know about is the Finke Cup against Reagan. It’s a fundraiser for scholarships that are given out to the senior on each team that the team has voted for, and it’s also a fun game to watch because it’s against our rival,” Morris said.
Adding to that, all the girls know the only way to win will be to play smart.
“Every game we always try to work hard, think confident, work quickly and just play the game we love,” senior Ariana Shroyer said. “If we do that I believe we can make first or second in districts and definitely go to state.”