Girls soccer strikes back in action

Varsity girls soccer team publishes their first win against the Fighting Zee-Bees, 6-1


Photo provided by: Keith Andersson

The Rams varsity girls soccer team’s official line-up for spring sports soccer season 2021. Soccer coach Keith Andersson shared the pausing of last year’s season which led him to look forward to this year’s soccer season. “I’m super excited for the season. My first season was supposed to happen last year, and we got shut down on May 13 And it was a crushing blow because the entire coaching staff,” said Andersson.

The Rams soccer team records their first victory by striking down Zion-Benton High School Fighting Zee-Bees with a score of 6-1 in a game held in Zion on April 26. The girls soccer team already accomplished their first eight games of the season and is now continuing to dash their way through their journey as they reach near to their mid-season game.

Head varsity girls soccer coach, Keith Andersson, shared his game plan of utilizing online conferencing apps to prepare for their season. “We kept in contact with each other [through] Zoom meetings. It was to get them prepared for the season. We got thrown together seven days before our first game, and we’re figuring it out as we go,” said Andersson.

Andersson conveyed that there wasn’t enough time for them to prepare for the season. He made sure they will spend time in practice and getting in shape wisely and effectively. “We haven’t played for 700 days. [We] haven’t even had a preseason… We’re going to utilize scrimmages. We’ll be able to learn and utilize huddle[s] and be able to analyze the game and move forward from there,” said Andersson.

Despite the lack of time in preparation, Andersson focused on refreshing the team to be back in action. “[Going] back down to the basics and get them to be relaxed with the ball, getting comfortable with the ball, and remember what it’s like to play the sport… We call it a dynamic warmup, and [we] do the same thing before every game. We do 30 minutes before and after the game. We definitely have a cooldown stretch. After the game, your muscles are really warm [and it] is the best time to stretch so that way you recover faster,” explained Andersson.

Andersson explained what to look forward to in this year’s soccer season compared to last year’s season. “Last season was really short, we didn’t even have a game. This season is actually a full season with the state series… We’ll have 23 games,” said Andersson.

Andersson acknowledged that “to win conference” was the main goal of the team right now with the hope of “[moving] on to regional sectionals and [then] state.” Girls center forward and one of the team captains Lillian Bak confirmed this by sharing her personal thoughts. “My main goal this season is to win the conference. Along with that, I would love to end the season, win or loss, happy with the outcomes and happy finishing the season with my team,” said Bak.

In addition, the girls team center back and one of the team captains Adine Mendoza elaborated her thoughts about the important things to keep in mind to achieve their goals. “The most important thing to consider to reach our goal is to not just think of each other as a team but as a family who holds each other accountable. We really need this because we need to depend on each other to play our best and bring each other up when someone may not be having their best game. We have taken this very seriously because our stats and the outcomes of our games aren’t the most important, although it still is important, we focus on how our team played and how we can improve overall,” said Mendoza.

Andersson explained his role as the coach and as the program. ”I want them to be strong young women, that will make up their minds, and be able to understand that they’re the ones who have to put forth the effort. Everybody can want to win every single game… What I always tell them is ‘Once the 11 girls [were] out in the field, as coaches, we really can’t do anything after that point.’ They’re the 11 that choose whether they’re going to play, or whether they’re going to score goals, [or] whether they’re going to defend–they’re the leaders. They’re the ones that actually have to make the decision. Once they’re on the field, anything that we coach doesn’t make a difference,” said Andersson.

Collectively, Mendoza proved that the soccer program has the capability to improve one’s self. “We are very thankful to have the coaches that we have now because the team feels like our coaches really care about players to help them develop to be the best players they can be. They not only care about our athletic careers but [also] about our academic careers. They listen to their players when we don’t think something is working out on the field, and he allows the players to figure out plays for themselves so we can become the leaders that he wants us to be,” said Mendoza.

Andersson addressed his personal feelings about their season in connection with his last year’s experiences with the program. “I’m super excited for the season. My first season was supposed to happen last year, and we got shut down and it was a crushing blow. We had the most [number] of girls the program ever had. We ran out of uniforms last year because we had that many girls try out, [and] this year’s opposite. We barely had enough for two teams,” said Andersson.

Lastly, Bak shared the mentality she puts into practice whenever they play games. “The most important thing to attain goals is consistency and work ethic. Soccer is such a physical game, but it is also as much mental. If you have a bad outlook on things, everything is just harder,” said Bak.