Mid-Way Through Soccer Season: MHS Varsity Girls

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Mid-Way Through Soccer Season: MHS Varsity Girls

MHS Varsity Girls' Soccer

MHS Varsity Girls' Soccer

Photo: Noor Majid

MHS Varsity Girls' Soccer

Photo: Noor Majid

Photo: Noor Majid

MHS Varsity Girls' Soccer

Noor Majid, Staff Writer

“Come on, girls!” “Let’s go!” “Yes!”

These are just a few of the words of encouragement and motivation the MHS varsity soccer girls shout to each other every day during practices. They color-coordinate their outfits for each practice, have a rambunctious group-chat, and support each other daily. Just the other day, outside back Sarah Turley made sure to tell fellow teammate Abby Chervenak in the hallway, “Looking good, dude!”

The varsity girls’ soccer team has 15 members this season, six of which are freshmen. After a slow start to their season (1-5), the girls packed a hefty punch and had a four-game winning streak before losing to Conard-West Hartford on October 13 — losing to a team which won its first five games.

“I tell the girls all the time,” said varsity coach and English teacher Kaitlyn Kennedy, “‘I don’t care if we lose as long as we work really hard.’”

Kennedy has played soccer for 18 years, and this is her second year coaching varsity at MHS. She has been immersed in soccer for most, if not all, of her life, and feels that coaching is the closest she can get to the sport with not playing competitively anymore.

Powerful Players

Making it on the varsity soccer team is no easy feat — the 15 girls went through rigorous tryouts and fitness tests to actually qualify for the team, and are expected to be adept at their technique with the ball, speed of play, and tactical understanding. 

Photo: Noor Majid
Freshman Isabella Angelo

For the six freshmen players, especially, this is admirable. Coach Kennedy explained, “[Being a freshman] on the varsity team means you are playing with girls who are 17, 18 years old — they are physically stronger, their bodies have developed, and they have more playing experience.”

Tryouts for varsity were held over the summer and one was even twice a day: two hours in the morning, and two hours in the afternoon. During tryouts, prospective players were tested by rubric on their physicality, skill, and even body language for playing.

Surveying the girls doing drills across MHS’s bright green turf, Kennedy said, “I don’t want players on varsity that are just naturally talented; I want players who work hard as well.”

Even after making the team, practice is intensive. Players usually get home around 6 P.M. on regular days. On game days, some girls don’t make it home until 9 P.M.

Taking the Dub

The beginning of the season was relatively slow for such fast-paced girls: out of six games, MHS emerged victorious in only one. However, the varsity girls aren’t deterred easily.

MHS had a four-game winning streak starting from their first victory against Platt-Meriden on September 28. In the subsequent three weeks, our varsity soccer team defeated East Hartford, Bristol, and Bloomfield, respectively. This was due to the team actually sitting down and to reassess their technique and discuss what went wrong in lost games.

“After starting the season with five losses, we reevaluated what our goals were, we held standards, and we found success,” said Kennedy.

Tenacious. Goofy. Supportive.

These are the three adjectives Coach Kennedy would use to describe her team.

And seeing them at practice working as a single cohesive unit, but still managing to laugh with each other, Kennedy’s words could not have been more true.

It is captivating to see such a close-knit team excelling at their beloved sport. Coach Kennedy has worked to create an atmosphere of transparency for the team — where if a teammate is giving information on technique or form, it is important to understand and accept that constructive criticism rather than see it as negative.

“We work well together on and off the field, and we can have fun while still working hard every practice and game,” said Sarah Turley, who also plays for the Simmons Premiere Soccer Club in South Windsor, Connecticut.

The team had a narrow 3-1 loss against Tolland on October 17. Their upcoming game is on October 24 against East Catholic High School.

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