New Girls Soccer Team Signals Program Growth

Players+on+the+new+girls+soccer+team+socialize+and+get+ready+for+practice+after+school.+%E2%80%9CI+had+friends+on+the+eighth-grade+team%2C+but+I+wanted+to+play+harder+teams+to+become+better%E2%80%9D+said+Devlin.

Players on the new girls soccer team socialize and get ready for practice after school. “I had friends on the eighth-grade team, but I wanted to play harder teams to become better” said Devlin.

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Players on the new girls soccer team socialize and get ready for practice after school. “I had friends on the eighth-grade team, but I wanted to play harder teams to become better,” said Devlin.

by Alison Eadie

After registration at the beginning of this year, the varsity coaches had chosen their players, and there were 52 girls remaining. Athletic Director Luis Macedo was pleased with the increased interest in soccer, but he realized that the girls would not get much playing time, and “fifty-two kids with two coaches is just unsafe.” He spoke with  Superintendent Kevin Lyons about the possibility of creating a fourth team. He then brought the issue to the School Committee, where the new team was approved.

Now in addition to the varsity, JV and eighth grade teams, there is a new team (often called the freshman team or the second JV team). Players consist of a pretty even number of eighth graders and ninth graders, coached by Bill Richards. Because the team was created on such short notice, it was a challenge for Macedo to schedule the games. Most of the 13 or 14 games are away, with only a few at home since the fields at Hudson High were already booked in advance.

The players are most excited about getting more time on the field. Midfielder and forward Elizabeth Campbell only got seven minutes of playing time in the only eighth grade team game she played. Now that the players have been split up, on the new team she is able to play the whole game.

So far, Campbell says the team gets along really well. Standout players include Josie Saliga, who “ties our team together” and Lauren Sullivan, who has “been improving a lot. She’s really on her game and one of the best players on our team.”

Playing JV teams has been a challenge for the girls, but they see that as an opportunity to learn. “By playing harder teams, it will make us realize more what techniques we’re doing wrong.When you play them, you really have to use your skills in order to win,” said  center forward and midfielder Carley Devlin. Playing against more advanced teams also prepares the girls for the years to come. “They’re already going against stiffer competition, so next season they’re gonna be ready to play older and tougher girls. It gives the younger girls a better idea of what the competition may be like when they’re gonna jump up either to JV or varsity next year,” said Richards.

Currently the team is 2-3-1. Coach Richards hopes to end the season over 500 and beat the talented Wachusett team to redeem one of their early losses (2-1 Wachusett). In that game, a Hudson player took a shot on net in the last thirty seconds of the game, but it hit the crossbar.

Campbell says that defense is a weakness for the team, but they are constantly improving.

“It’s nice to see the number of girls that are out for soccer,” said Macedo. “It’s always been my goal to have four teams. That should be able to create more opportunities for kids to participate.” As for the future, it’s looking bright. “The Hudson program is going to be great in the next year or two because of this great crop of eighth graders and freshmen,” Richards said.