Girls soccer team’s first game slated for next week
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Grayling High School varsity girls soccer team had low numbers last year – sometimes, the squad only had 11 players for games, enough for a full team, but not enough to have any substitutes – and, based on pre-season sign-up numbers, it looked like a lot more players would be available this year; however, numbers might be low again.
Cyndi Powers, who’s in her third season as coach of the program, said she expects to have between 11 and 15 players for the 2019 spring season.
The roster will have a mix of new players, returners, and exchange students.
The program conducted some open soccer sessions during the winter in order to get some work in during the offseason. The soccer team began its official practice sessions for the spring 2019 season on March 11; the squad conducted its practices inside at the Grayling Middle School.
Coach Powers said the early sessions went well.
“It’s been good. These are great girls, great personalities, willing to work hard and have fun,” Coach Powers said.
Due to field conditions, the team was not able to practice outdoors prior to spring break, which began on March 22. The difference in playing surfaces and the size of the available area make it a challenge to practice soccer inside.
“There are some things we just can’t practice indoors. It’s difficult,” Coach Powers said.
Coach Powers said the squad focused on “foot skills, ball skills, touches, and control” during its first two weeks of practice prior to spring break.
“A good first touch, setting us up for a good second touch, playing with purpose,” Coach Powers said.
She said the players have made a lot of progress already.
“It’s been really nice to see,” Coach Powers said.
The team’s season opener is slated for Monday, April 8, at Grayling High School vs. Traverse City St. Francis (weather and field conditions permitting). The Vikings will host Roscommon on Wednesday, April 10, if conditions allow it. The start time for both contests is 5 p.m.
If the fields are ready in time, it means very limited practice time for the squad before its first games of the season.
“That should be interesting. The ball reacts so much different on the grass than on the floor,” Coach Powers said.
Coach Powers said she would like to see steady improvement throughout the year. That’s the goal.
“Each day be better. Every game, be better than the last one,” Coach Powers said.
“I just want us – whether we win or lose – I want us to remain positive and work on our skills and be better. I want us to be a team, not just individuals,” Coach Powers said.
“It’s a good group of kids. I’m excited. They’re nice girls,” Coach Powers said.