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Lady Spartan Strikers

Posted 05/06/2022 by Roxanne Wilkerson

Girls’ Soccer teammates love to celebrate every goal together with confidence and great sportsmanship. photo courtesy of TJ Yearbook Staff

TJ’s Girls’ Spring 2022 Soccer team kicks off with enthusiasm and resilience to lead one another to excellence.

After competing through the past two years of uncertainty, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Girls’ Soccer program is glad to welcome new faces with wide smiles and open arms. During previous seasons, the program struggled to recruit enough athletes to try out for the team, especially when there were major concerns about transmitting COVID-19 through contact sports. This meant that most players in the program were returning upperclassmen who, despite having to face the adversity of limited team numbers, were ready to get back on the field, especially after facing the isolation that came with online learning. Luckily, times have changed and the roster for the spring 2022 season consists of a balanced number of upper and lower classmen, who are all extremely willing to devote their time and effort to get to know their new teammates, all while putting their all into working together in a competitive environment. 

During the season, head coach Beth Hinz made a valiant effort to embrace the values of team bonding and perseverance with her assistant coaches, Emma Musson and James Stephenson. Hinz was the new head coach at the time when coaches were challenged with the cancellation of the 2020 sport’s seasons. To heal the sorrows of her athletes during a year without athletics or team gatherings, Hinz held her head high and continued to reach out to players virtually about staying enthusiastic and continuing to aspire for fitness and health. For this year’s season, she is exhilarated that players can see each other more consistently in the school’s building and play the beautiful game that has brought them together to be a TJ soccer family.

With the season currently underway, coaches have established regular game day routines for team building and encouragement, as well as planning out fun practice days here and there. Specifically, one of the most important parts of game day for the players and coaches is for everyone to stand in a circle at the edge of the field, with everyone’s feet close to each other to have a brief moment of connection and focus. To start this activity, Musson or Hinz gives the girls their quote of the game on a slip of paper. Then, all the players pick a spot on their person to keep the paper, whether it’s in their sock, shoe, or wherever else they would like. Lastly, every player gets to pick a small lollipop to have before the game, which is beneficial as it helps keep their blood sugars up while exercising and gives them a little treat to look forward to at every match. Jocelyn Millard, a senior and the Varsity goalkeeper, spoke more on how this activity has benefited the team, claiming, “it gives us a chance to get hype, but at the same time it’s a way to focus and come together to catch the dub.” After this activity, the team gets their energy up during the warm-up and prepares for the excitement of kick-off. With the knowledge that every teammate on the field has their back, players compete vigorously and encourage each other to push their limits to the greatest levels possible. 

With a motivational coaching staff and talented lady spartans, the girls’ soccer program has preserved through challenges on and off the field. Players have shown an admirable eagerness to embrace their competitiveness against every opponent while building off of each other’s determination to succeed. The team’s enthusiastic environment is rooted in the consistency of the coaches’ effort to encourage team bonding, as well as their commitment to creating a competitive atmosphere where players inspire each other. Hinz has shown her dedication to making meaningful friendships with every player by always reminding them of the program values and speaking briefly at practices and games about friendship, loyalty, enthusiasm, industriousness, and other keys to success. Nonetheless, the team will carry each other towards every accomplishment with immense exhilaration, having the unbreakable spirit of a TJ Spartan.