Soccer season wrap-up

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Photo by Coby Malkus, Dimensions

Soccer players scrimmage during practice as part of their routine.

Julia Rich, Guest Writer

Despite challenges presented by the pandemic and a coaching position vacancy, the high school soccer team wrapped up a productive spring season. The co-ed team, which consists of mainly underclassmen, managed to function effectively on their own, and therefore did not hire a second adult to coach the team.

Athletic Director Becky Silberman said that while the team previously had a coach, their remarkable independence proved to Silberman that it was not necessary to hire a replacement.

“I showed up the first day and they were already warming up and running drills on their own, so I realized they don’t need anyone,” Silberman said. “They are very self-sufficient, and they just kind of run their warm-up. They know what to do, and then they play.”

However, Silberman noted that the team was not completely independent, as ceramics teacher Gretchen Gobin proctors the team.

The team practiced for an hour and a half every Tuesday and Wednesday. At the beginning of practices, players warmed up by stretching or kicking a soccer ball back and forth with each other. Sophomore Noam Cohen said that the team also did different types of drills, then players competed in a scrimmage for the remainder of practice.

“We start off with some drills; some shooting drills, some passing drills, and then after that, we go into scrimmage for like an hour,” Cohen said. “Then, we have a break between scrimmage in the middle and then we just continue playing.”

Cohen noted that the absence of a coach had a minimal impact on practices because certain players managed to fill in most roles that the coach would typically be responsible for.

“It’s pretty much the same I guess because it’s me and a couple other people just take a stand, and we start organizing the situation of what’s happening.” Cohen said. “We transition from doing an activity with the coach and him telling us what to do to a couple of the students telling other students what to do.”

On the contrary, freshman Sela Wertlieb feels that a coach would have been beneficial for the team because they could help make the players improve their skills.

The absence of a coach did not prevent the team from competing in scrimmages versus other schools. The girls played in a scrimmage against Field and the boys on the team competed in two games. First, they played St. Anselms where they lost 3-2. Later, the boys competed against Field, where they fell 5-2. 

Even though the girls team lost, just being able to play in a game was exciting for Wertlieb. She said that she was ready to be back playing again.

“It felt kind of weird but I felt like a rush of excitement and adrenaline because I was ready to get back to playing,” Wertlieb said.

For the most part, players have seemed to enjoy having a co-ed team. Cohen noted that having more on the team makes playing more fun.

“We do have a lot of girls play soccer so its kinda like its more people which makes the game more fun at the end of the day,” Cohen said. “When you have less people you get tired really quick so when you have more people you have more time to get rest and stuff like that and pass to other teammates so that’s fun.”

Since soccer is typically a fall sport, Silberman said that soccer will most likely return to a fall schedule. She also mentioned that the PVAC league will hopefully return to normal next year..

“The plan right now for the league is to be back as normal,” Silberman said. “But you know we can’t really tell much at this point but our plan again is to have our normal PVAC season playing everybody.”

Cohen hopes to continue playing on the team and looks forward to the possibility of competing against other schools next year.

“I have been playing soccer since I came here in seventh grade, so it’s kinda like my main sport,” Cohen said. “I don’t think I’m going to stop next year, and…hopefully, there will be more competitive games as well, so it gives you more of a drive to go playing again.”

Silberman felt content with how the season turned out. While it was far from normal, Silberman appreciated the successful soccer season that the players led. 

“My only goal for this year was to get people out and active and playing, and I think we accomplished that,” Silberman said. “This is a weird year, so just the fact that we were able to do anything was good, and I know it wasn’t perfect, but we did what we could.”