For this year’s girls varsity soccer team, rebuilding a sense of connection and community on the field will be one of the top priorities this season.
“Our goal is to bring back the girls varsity soccer family,” said co-captain Gigi Day ’22. “That’s not saying the family ever left, but not having a season last year allows us to redefine and revamp girls varsity soccer.”
Head coach Christy Cooper acknowledged that not having games last year means that there are two incoming groups of students for whom this year will be a very new experience. “Those kids who came in last year haven’t gone through the rhythm of the season,” she said.
Recent seasons have seen the Bearcats play a highly competitive schedule and enjoy remarkable success. The team qualified for the New England tournament each of the past three competitive seasons, reaching the semifinals in 2019 and 2017.
In many ways, this season has coaches and players facing the familiar task of trying to identify roles and determine where each player fits into the overall team.
“We’re always creating and building a team culture that is positive, supportive, appropriately challenging, and safe,” said Cooper.
Being able to look forward to competition should give the team renewed enthusiasm, said co-captain Ellie Traggio ’22. “Game days are my favorite days of the week, and without them last year, school did not feel the same,” she said.
Cooper praised Day, Traggio, and fellow captain Fati Salifu ’22 for their individual contributions to the team leadership. Salifu brings a great deal of joy and fun to each practice and game, Day adds focus and high expectations, and Traggio models humility and kindness, said Cooper.
Joining Cooper and the players this season will be new assistant coach Julia Rayhill, who has already made a positive impact. “She’s confident, and knows the game. She’s not afraid to share her voice or her thoughts. The students really like her,” said Cooper.
Day said that she and the other captains realize that this season is their last chance to leave a lasting legacy with the team. “We want to leave girls varsity soccer better than we found it, and that will be challenging considering that we found it in amazing shape.”