Soccer season brings challenges, honor


By Freddy Roberts, Round Table sports editor

Starting a hobby can take many years of practice and effort. In my case, soccer is a major hobby of mine that I participate in during the fall school year.

The summer between eighth grade and freshman year was all about making the junior varsity team. I practiced almost every single day with friends and, when it came to tryouts, I was prepared.

As a freshman, I mostly played as a starter on right half back. I was excited and relieved to have made the team.

As my freshman year continued on, my priorities changed. I became seriously involved in track and field, gaining speed and experiencing a new sport. All during the winter, spring and summer I practiced hurdles and pole vaulting, stepping away from soccer.

During the summer, soccer became an annoying and pointless sport to me. I just felt that I wouldn’t be able to make the team with the lack of practice I’ve had for the last six or seven months. But as tryouts came closer, I made the decision to play the exhilarating sport again.

I went into my sophomore year of soccer tryouts not knowing what the outcome may be. Not practicing had set me back when competing against the other guys, but I just kept saying one simple thing: “Just be aggressive.”

On the last day of tryouts, my aggressiveness landed me a position on the back line as a center defenseman. My idea of playing soccer again didn’t bring me to this predicament, since I’ve never played as a center full back in my life.

To make my coach happy, I agreed to the challenge of playing this unfamiliar spot. And as the season continued, I and two other sophomores were given the leadership role as a captain. My excitement was overwhelming and I was ready for this upcoming season.

As the friendlies against North Hagerstown past and the regular season games began, my junior varsity team consisted of six sophomores, five of whom were returning from last year, and 13 freshmen. In my eyes, I felt that this was going to be a very weak team.

I had 19 players to control, 11 which would be on the soccer field during a match. Being a captain is both an honor and a stressor. My coach probably managed to yell at me three, if not more, times per game to control the back line and to make sure we weren’t too flat.

I grew angry with where I played, and I hated the position. But I knew that my coach was playing more of a defensive game, and he needed our quickest and strongest players on defense to ensure no goals to be scored on us.

During the games, many mistakes were made. Even the minor ones can be costly, but I tried my hardest to keep my composure when I stabbed at the ball and let an opponent go by. I did everything in my will to play a position I barely knew or liked to the best of my ability.

Going out onto that soccer field on game days I felt the judgement of the other teams. They most likely thought that because of our small stature we could easily be won and pushed around.

In the beginning of the season, I believed the same thing about my own teammates. They managed though to surprise me and continue to fight for the ball no matter what. Our overall standings were eight wins, all but one game being shut outs, and four losses, each game resulting in a one or two score difference.

I will have to say, I was proud of my teammates and their ability to play. We all started out hardly knowing each other, but as the season pushed forward, the chemistry grew. Because of this, our last four games became major victories for us that I will never forget.

Overall, I would probably say that I was glad I tried out for soccer this fall season. It might have been challenging, but I learned how to be a leader on and off the field, and I became a better defenseman. Most of all, I know that I will need to practice even harder to make varsity next year as a junior. I also know that this is a hobby I’m willing to never give up on.