Pass for Positivity

New tactics, coach help improve, train sportsmanship

Caleb Wiesenhutter, reporter

Leading the charge up the field, senior Heather Manning takes control of a pass and dribbles past every defender in her way. She keeps the ball close to her feet, eluding the rough and tough pressure from the defense. Manning glances to her side and notices an open teammate streaking towards the goal.

“I just try not focus on the bad things,” Manning said. “I try to lighten the mood before games and during warmups with the music, dancing around and staying goofy, to help our attitudes and confidence going into games. I try to help us think as positive as we can, instead of focusing on stats and just looking at negatives like, ‘Oh they’re better than us, we’re going to get killed.’ Not bringing up those negatives really has an impact on us.”

The girls varsity soccer team has had a mix of positives and negatives this year, one positive being a three game win streak in non-district games to start their season.

“Pre-season we played against teams that weren’t as hard to play against, and that were more on our level,” junior Crystal Serrato said. “We went into those with a more positive attitude, because we know those teams didn’t have like 10 really high level soccer players ior a full team of those players, but instead one or two and we had more confidence.”

Throughout district, the girls have struggled, yet to win a game thus far. And according to Serrato, negativity and lack of
communication have led to the struggles, and can be much improved.

“We haven’t been working as well together as we could,” Serrato said. “But, if we can communicate and stay positive, instead of always getting down on ourselves just thinking that we’re going automatically going to lose, we have enough potential to beat other teams we play.”

The team says lately, they’ve tried to work on bettering themselves going into games on the places they struggle in, with more communication, positivity and togetherness than they have had in past seasons and games, and Head coach Christopher Villatoro, changes in those spots have been noticable.

“From the beginning of the year to now there’s been lots of improvement,” Villatoro said. “They’ve worked for each other more, their touch as a team has improved and they’ve really communicated more. They now can possess the ball and move it around more and know where they’re going instead of just kicking it to a spot. They’ve really grown in those places.”

The team has been working on technical touch drills and ball skills during their practices and warms up to help better the girls’ play. According to Villatoro, it has changed the way the girls think going into games.

“Every day we do ball touches and team movement, just to get more work together, and I think their attitude has really changed,” Villatoro said. “They went from being like, ‘We can’t win. Why are we even here?’ to ‘We still have a chance.’ That’s what it’s all about, going into games always confident and thinking you have a chance. I definitely appreciate the new
attitudes they’ve come into this year.”

According to the girls, the rest of the year will be tough, but they want to hit their main goal and win some district games, since they haven’t been able to in past seasons. Villatoro says he is confident that they can pick up the wins they want, but they will have to stay positive going forward to
accomplish that.

“I know the girls get discouraged at times, but we’re just trying to keep their attitudes positive after some struggles in past years,” Villatoro said. “Now they’re starting to see that if they do all the small things right, the game is going to be a lot better. I just need their attitudes to keep being positive going forward and to have total buy-in, going forward, to what I’m trying to do. There will be a huge jump, and I’m really looking forward to that in the coming years.”