More than a sport

Soccer isn’t just about the score, it’s about the relationships people make from it


Both of my sisters played soccer all four years of high school. Being the most competitive of the three of us, I couldn’t sit out on the sidelines. They always talked about how positive the experience was but the score of the game never seemed to reflect that. 

Soccer has been a huge part of my life for the past ten years. I played many other sports along the way but soccer has been the one that’s gotten me through everything. I realize now that no matter how the games end, I have grown the most, emotionally and mentally, by being a part of this program. The lessons I’ve learned through soccer have made me a better friend, teammate and person. 

Freshman year was a bit underwhelming. I was learning the ropes and getting to know the school. My stats were impressive for a freshman, but it didn’t mean much to me at the time. 

Sophomore year was completely different. New girls, new coaches, new energy and new goals. Then, junior year hit. Again, underwhelming and not exactly memorable.

 I struggled through an injury the entire season and felt like soccer was no longer in the cards for me. Even though I didn’t feel like I belonged, my team never let me stray too far from our goals.

This year, my senior year, has exceeded all of my expectations. Head Coach Nicole Duncan and Assistant Coach Kayla Shouse implemented a new pre-game ritual: for every game, one person picks one quote that could have a significant impact for the team. 

They explain their quote and we take that mentality to the field. It has really brought everyone together beyond soccer.

I am used to playing soccer for short-term teams. In travel soccer, everyone is moved around seasonally based on talent and level of play. With the school team, seniors graduating and freshmen joining the team always change the roster. 

This usually doesn’t bother me. I’ve gotten used to it. But I’m not ready for this season to be over for that exact reason. It’s important to me to ensure that this family mindset continues into the postseason. The team that takes the field has truly become a family.

 We talk outside of practice and games like we would with family and friends. Our relationships have evolved outside the soccer world. We look out for each other as far as soccer goes, like remembering uniforms and staying hydrated. But, we also remind each other of school deadlines, are there for each other when personal issues arise, and we always make time to be together when we can.

It’s been a very challenging season with the CDC guidelines and fear that the season will end any day, but despite all of that, we stay together and get our jobs done. It doesn’t have to be game day to get the group chat going. It doesn’t take a win to get us to celebrate each other’s victories. It doesn’t take a sport to keep us together.