Day in the Life: Girls Soccer

It is the day before the big game. The final bell has just rung. Players are either rushing out of class or returning from a nice two-hour free period spent at home. Now it is time for an afternoon filled with film and practice.

The girls team room is flooded with players rushing to get ready, cleats and shin guards flying as the girls are prepping for the next hour and a half of their day.

Starting off the league with a 1-0 record, the stakes are high. Practice starts at exactly 3:45 p.m., and anyone who is even a minute late has to run the stadium at the end of the week, a new tradition thought up by this year’s senior captains, Emma Levy, Kate Campbell, Sam Steele, Stella Mikolajewski, Ellie Davidson and Natalie Christmore. Practice begins with warm-ups, consisting of dynamic stretching, sprints and a passing and possession drill. 

Keeping the energy high and combating the intense coaching of Coach Martin Hansford and Coach Pam Kalinoski, the team keeps music blasting at all times. Coach Matt Rosendo’s occasional dances make the excruciating training a little more bearable.

“It’s a mixture of things, it is trying to accomplish our long-term goals for the season, previous performances and what went well … things that haven’t gone so well, but it’s really about the opponents and what to expect,” Hansford said.

As practice ends the team prepares for mindfulness, a time where the players are able to connect and relax before the game. But first, the underclassmen get to work by cleaning up the equipment. Before starting the mindfulness session,  Kalinoski leads an icebreaker to loosen everyone up, encouraging the girls to learn more about one another. Following the icebreaker, a group talk filled with constructive criticism breaks out to help players understand what they can improve on. Occasionally, Kalinoski will turn on music from her eclectic music library and dance around the room to boost the players’ spirits. 

Once the mindfulness session finishes, the team begins watching film of their last game to see what they can improve on. During every film session, Rosendo shares his knowledge of the other team from thoroughly researching the plays, players and coaches to get a better understanding of what to expect the next day. At the end of the film the players prepare to go home and all run to their cars to escape the cold. 

“We haven’t done much team bonding outside of school yet but we are planning some fun things for the future,” Steele said. “The team culture and chemistry is already really good, and we all get along and have fun together.” 

It is the start of game day and players are required to wear their black TPHS girls soccer shirt, repping for the team all around campus. The day drags and classes seem to crawl by in anticipation for the game to begin. The excitement heightens until 5:30 p.m. when the players meet in the team room. Players and all three coaches discuss tactics, put on their gear and start braiding or tying up their hair. 

An hour before the game, players meet on the field to begin warm-ups. Players put their cleats on to begin their dynamic warm-ups, stretching and passing lines, always with the music cranked. As warm-ups progress, the coaches begin to get the players in the right mindset and spirit before the game. Following passing lines, the players break into an 8v5 drill to perfect their strategies for the game. At the end of warm-ups, the captains of each team are called forth to speak with the referees, while the other captains lead the rest of the team in shooting drills. 

As start time approaches, the teams gather at their benches to have last-minute talks with the coaches in preparation for what is to come. Those who are injured take a quick trip to see the athletic trainer Zayna Green and then rejoin the huddle. The starters are announced one by one onto the field and cheered on by the crowd and teammates as the game begins. 

After a long and challenging game, the girls pulled through with a score of 1-0 against Canyon Crest Academy. To end the day, the team meets with the coaches to talk about how the game went and what could have gone better to give them some insight on what to do next time.

“I think it went really well. We finished our chances and came off very strong,” Levy said. “It was the best result we’ve had in the league so far.”

Breathing in the cold air as they walk out of the stadium, embracing loved ones and greeting peers, the anticipation that was once overwhelming has now vanished into the cold air. 

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