Girls’ soccer kicks off this year’s season

Soccer can be argued as one of the most popular sports in the world and is often one tied in with not only recreation, but can also be seen as a form of culture. This pristine reputation holds true at Newbury Park High School, where the girls’ soccer team has just begun to prepare for their upcoming season.

The group has already set specific goals they plan on accomplishing, such as winning the league and advancing to the CIF tournament. In order to reach these ambitions the girls have had to get into the right headspace and mentality. Joel Canacoo, varsity girls’ soccer coach as well as an NPHS alumnus, expressed the urgency of developing a mental game that is just as strong as the physical. “We take a lot of time to meditate before we start every session [and] game,” Canacoo said.

The group also relies on strategies that they have planned out before playing so that they can stay ahead and catch their opponents off guard. Palmira Coll Bech, sophomore, is a striker on the junior varsity team and understands the importance of making a team unpredictable. “We like to just connect the ball and switch the field. We like to not always attack, but also switch back and play defense,” Coll Bech said.

Even though the league just started, there have already been improvements that the athletes have noticed and believe will aid them this season. Quinn Henderson, junior, is a center holding and attacking man on the varsity team. She feels that a strong connection has developed between her and her teammates and that this will help her to play better. “Last year, we had a lot of new people, like we had a lot of freshmen, and just a lot of underclassmen. So we were definitely just getting to know each other… we’re much closer this year because we [have not] just met each other,” Henderson said. “It’s a chemistry thing as well.”

When it comes to performing sports at high levels, the player must bring their own determination and excitement onto the field in order to perform at the expectations required of them. “I tell my players that they’re the protagonists of their own journey. We have to recognize that this is quite a journey, there’ll be success and there’ll be failures. I’m just here to help guide that process [and] make sure that both happen so that [the team] can grow and get ourselves where we need to be and become a better version of ourselves as a person and as a player,” Canacoo said.