Girls’ soccer looking to create a ‘new culture’ of improvement
“We weren’t going to go from losing every game to winning every game but my goal was to inspire a new culture surrounding girls soccer at the high school,” said Casey Flueckiger, one of the three captains of the girls’ varsity soccer team.
Last year, the team’s record was 1-17, so their main goals were to improve technique, bolster the team dynamic, and win at least two games. According to Flueckiger, “it has been so amazing to see just how a change in attitude can alter the team’s experience and performance.”
“[Coach McKenzie] says that it’s really important to improve as a team, and sometimes we’ll be losing a game but he’ll say the wins and the losses don’t matter,” said Jaedan Case. “What matters is that we’ve made a lot of improvements this season.”
McKenzie’s goal is simple: “to build a positive team culture in which hard work on and off the pitch is encouraged and expected from everyone,” said the team’s new coach.
The captains this year are the three seniors: Charlotte Luddy, Rheannon Stewart, and Flueckiger.
A good captain is “a person who will look out for the interest of the players, and who you aren’t afraid to come talk to. Honestly, someone who you know can both listen and lead,” said Flueckiger.
The team’s roster is 19, with eight freshmen playing. The JV team is made up of entirely middle school players, who have “all been playing on club teams off-season and they’re all really good,” said Case. “Our JV team is doing very well so we’re really excited.”
Flueckiger also thinks the program is “going to take off. There seems to be some great talent coming up from middle school and our current freshman class is very talented,” said Flueckiger.
In practice MacKenzie addresses issues that came up during the previous game and choose activities that help to prepare the team to move forward.
For example, if in Tuesday’s game, the team struggled with passing, “Wednesday’s practice will likely be focused on improving that aspect of our game,” said MacKenzie.
The team has also been spending a lot of time working on on-field communications, which led to a fond memory for Flueckiger.
“There are rarely times when we aren’t smiling, which says a lot about our team chemistry,” she said. “But I recently lost my voice, so it was hard for me to communicate on the field. I would try calling for the ball and only a squeak would come out which everyone thought was really funny. We got some good laughs out of that.”