There will be some overlap in time between this and my last. However, my high school years require their own post. And there could possibly be less drama than my club years.
Unlike most, I had a few chances to meet the soccer coach prior to being a freshman in college. My sister played soccer in high school, and often after games she would bring me across the field to meet the coaches while she got her things together.
Going into my freshman year was very exciting. Tryouts started just after Christmas break. I remember halfway through the week I was talking with my dad, and he let me in on a secret before I was to know; he had been told already that I was going to be on Varsity before tryouts were even over.
While it was hard knowing something I shouldn’t have, it ended up being a nice boost to help get me through the rest of the week. I ended being more relaxed for the remainder of tryouts and managed to keep the confidence that landed me the spot in the first place. I was also excited, as one of my trainers from the years past was one of the assistant coaches. He was one of the best, and had a great eye to help take us to the next level.
I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience, in all four years playing, freshman year was the best. I’m not trying to sound cocky, but between the coaches and the upper classmen, they all looked after us and gave us the little extra boost to remind us that we were a part of the team too.
My freshman year was my favorite. Despite being apart from everyone, and having most of my friends playing on JV, I had the time of my life. The team in the past years had done well and dominated, and this year was to be no exception. There were numerous tournaments, and we ended on top each time. We made our way to the conference championship, then district, then state.
The whole experience was quite a ride. To be one of two freshmen on the team made it more of an exciting experience. Getting to play on the same field as the Creighton men had so many times in the past had always been something I had hoped to do.
The state tournament was more than I could have imagined. The year had been a whirlwind to get to this point. I had family in the stands for each game, as well as friends cheering me on. I still remember the final substitution in the game, when I was pulled off the field, and the senior taking my place said, “Congrats, freshman” as we switched places.
It was a great feeling when the time expired, and the scoreboard read 3-0 in our favor. We were state champions. A great way to send the seniors off, and a great way to set the tone for the following year to come.
A lot of schools all over the city claimed that we recruited players (which we did not). Both the girls and the boys soccer teams tended to be exceptional, and a huge part of that was the players. Most of the time, the coaches had very little coaching to do with the talent they had. In our case, that wasn’t such a good thing; when the time came for some coaching advice, there wasn’t much to give, if you catch my drift.
My sophomore year wasn’t much different from the first. We lost quite a few seniors, but the freshmen we brought on to the team did a great job stepping up and taking their place. However, they were the ones getting the freshmen treatment, despite the drama that came along.
Our year did not start off well; poor decisions were made by some the eventually affected the team as a whole. However, we were able to move forward and live up to the good name we had made for ourselves. More tournaments, more domination. I had even managed to gain a starting position towards the second half of the year.
I had always told people throughout my time as a player, I had played every position on the field, from goalie to forward. Most of my time was spent as a midfielder, spending my knowledge of all areas of the field in the best way possible. However, I finally found my home as an outside defender. I loved every second of it. I found a rhythm back there, one I never thought I would find as a defender.
As the year progressed, we yet again found ourselves standing united on the championship field. As it should have been all along, the final game was harder fought, and would be a battle that we would end up fighting three years in a row. We were confident, though. We had already beat this team at least once during the season, so why would this be any different? They were out for blood, to put it bluntly. Despite the competition, we ended victorious. Two years, two championships. I found it hard to complain about that.
The next two years would bring on a change, and not necessarily for the better. We lost the assistant coach, who was tired of the drama that came with the freshmen after only one year. We gained two more assistant coaches, but it would never be the same. One was a former player, who came back to her roots and was teaching at the school now.
Remember when I said there was a lack of coaching advice? Well, there tended, at times, to be a lack of common sense. The tryout process seemed to be put on just for show; in the back of their minds, the team was already set. I found it hard to believe some players had made the team over others, who were clearly better and more talented.
Junior year was a hard year, not getting the chance to play with my sister due to this lack of sense. The team lost any sense of the fun it once had, as the coaches seemed to scramble to have some sort of input on our playing style. In my mind, it was far too late for that.
There is at least one game from every year that I remember, and this was no different. From what I remember, there were two games from my junior year that ended with me being benched for the remainder.
The first game I remember, I had worn earrings to school that day, and had forgotten to take them out prior to the start of the game. Safe to say that once the refs noticed, that was the end of my time on the field. The second game was harder to take. I ended up in a one on one situation in front of the goal. I’m not sure how it happened, but what I remember next is watching the ball roll into the net while I was lying on the ground. That, too, ended my time on the field.
Despite all of the hardships from the year, we managed to emerge victorious yet again. This was becoming a tradition, and the team was excited for the next year, planning to do the same, planning to have four championships in a row.
My senior year was probably one of the better years, while also being among the worst. I finally had the chance to play with my sister, and many of my friends joined as well. I had hopes that this would be another great year.
As with every other, there were challenges. Practices turned to conditioning, some thinking they were far above everyone else. The cohesiveness was beginning to break; there were times it felt like we were barely holding on.
Again, there are two games from my senior year that I remember clearly. The first was Senior Night. It was often tradition to ensure each senior scored, as a proper way to win our last home game. That was one of the more exciting games to play. The second is the state final. We were hyped, we were ready. We fought hard, staring out behind as they scored two quick goals on us, catching us on our heels. We ended in overtime, having tied the game, only to end up losing 3-2.
That was the hardest loss. I had hoped to end my senior year the same way we had sent the seniors off in the years before. I still remember walking around the stadium with the medal around my neck. There were random people saying congratulations, and I was too mad and upset to say anything back. This was not how things had been planned to end.
The ironic thing I noticed that year revolved around the success of both the boys and girls teams. There had not been a single year where both had won the state championship. To this day, I’m not sure that has changed, either.
I stayed around for the two years to follow, watching my brother and sister have their own chances at winning the state championship. However, all it took was those four years for me to realize I no longer had a love for the game. All it took was four years of high school soccer for me to lose the desire to play at a competitive level ever again. I was done. That was perhaps the easiest decision at the time, though hardest now looking back.