As football leaves the stadium, soccer takes its place. The Lady Tiger soccer program has started off the year with an intense off-season program and has seen the team numbers almost double with incoming freshman.
“Well there’s a lot of good girls that came in this year, especially the freshman class, but also like all over with returning varsity players and new seniors and the numbers that we have this year is high intensity and competition each practice,” JV sophomore Faith Wylie, said. “We’re running, weight room, our practices.”
The team during the off season typically does weight room two-three days of the week, depending on the training regime, and then practices on the field the remaining days.
“Tryouts are really competitive, because we get different ranks,” varsity junior Charleigh Phipps said, “and you want to be the best on the team and then the people coming in want to be in the top 22 so they can be on varsity, so that’s what makes tryouts really competitive.”
The team specifically has a program called Grind Never Stops, or GNS for short. It was implemented two years ago when Bailee Perrine became head coach.
“If you don’t finish that conditioning, you can’t make the team and I feel like that really pushes people to push themselves to become a better player,” varsity senior Emma Jones said. “And that definitely prepares us for the season because we come in with a greater level of fitness than every other team.”
The team runs a conditioning set every week to finish GNS, and if a player falls out, no matter how far they went, they have to repeat the whole workout.
“We did a lot last year but now that we have the expectation that we can get to state now we’re pushing ourselves even more so we can get into that final state game,” Wylie said. “We know we have the ability to get there so now we just have to push ourselves to actually get there.”
The school year of 2018-2019 saw the team making it to the state tournament for the first time since 2008, but the team lost in the semifinals.
“Everybody wants everyone to get better so everybody is pushing each other,” freshman Ella Ruff said, “so it’s really healthy and like the competition is like at a good standard.”.
For seniors like Jones, the desire to make it to the final game during their senior year is strong.
“You make sure you are showing yourself by always giving it 110%, always pushing yourself, making sure you push others, and giving it your best effort,” Phipps said.
Despite all of the conditioning and hard work, the team is stronger and closer than ever.
“[What I’m] most looking forward to is the experience, like the tournaments, the games, the pregame meals, the HEB runs, more of like the team bonding than the actual games,” Wylie said.
The team is unique to other teams in the district in almost all of the girls play club soccer as well.
“It’s very competitive,” Wylie said, “but also it’s really friendly, because we all are close enough that we know that if we go hard, it’s just to push each other and not to piss each other off.”
By Cady Russell, Online and Social Media Editor
Featured photo by Cady Russell