By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Transitioning from one coach to another is difficult, especially after a successful season as the Stayton Eagles Girls Soccer Team had in 2015 with a 4A Play-In appearance under Ian Van DerZwan.
But they are confident to carry that success into 2016 under new Head Coach Lael Anderson.
“It’s good, it’s very different,” said senior Sami Sheppard on the new Head Coach. “It’s going to be something that we all haven’t seen before but I’m really excited about it and it has really good potential.”
The girls work on footwork and using their footwork around the ball that were split up in several minute intervals as Anderson uses the breaks in between as teachable moments for her team.
“We got to be really well conditioned, really well prepared for our games,” said Sheppard. “We got a really young team this year and it’s a very different dynamic than last year but I’m really looking forward to it, she has really good expectations for us.”
To carry this success into 2015 with a young team that graduated eight seniors entering 2016, it starts with from within with some self-reflection.
“We did some self-evaluations last week and we had the girls fill out evaluations from last year’s experience playing soccer and what they hope to accomplish this next season,” started Anderson. “In combination in writing us a letter with how they were going to accomplish, or how we as coaches, could help them accomplish their goals.
“And that was really great to see the girls being honest with areas we can help them be successful inl, or areas they want to be held responsible to.”
Sheppard knows that it’s up to the seniors to help leave an impression for the younger athletes behind her to carry on the momentum that is building for the program.
“I was a captain last year and there’s a few seniors (this year),” she said. “For me and for the other seniors it’s really big importance that we try and leave our mark on them and try to show them what Varsity sports are
As practice continues with some conditioning, Anderson is happy impressed with how the team has progressed to this point.
“The girls are doing really great, there effort is good and the heat has slowed us down a little bit in the way of getting where we like to be conditioning wise. We’ll be working hard this week to make up for a couple of days from last week that were really hot.
“But overall, we’re really pleased that we got enough girls to form two teams. We got a strong freshman class.”
With the season starting September 2 with a exhibition versus McLoughin/Weston-McEwen, Anderson hopes that the journey for her girls is one in which they are challenging themselves to be better as athletes.
“As for season expectations, generally I don’t have expectations,” said Anderson. “I have strong hopes for the girls to challenge themselves in the way they are going to be developing into a fierce competitors and a lot of that is relational right now just getting to know them and the best to encourage them in their own athleticism.”
As for the excitement for the season to come, it’s there.
“I’m stoked,” said Sheppard with a smile. “I’m really excited. I’m super excited for the season to start.”
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