Team chemistry a big role in soccer’s early expectations


James Bourne

Following an offseason filled with team bonding, both soccer teams look to bring that connection onto the field.

Although football largely dominates the attendance figures for school sports, a large number of students play soccer, and the players are developing bonds that will better prepare the teams for success this season. Fresh off of a quarter-final appearance, the girl’s team is looking to repeat this performance, and as head coach Danielle Tantillo says, the squad wants to build on the success found in last season.
“Last year, we made it to quarters in playoffs, which was the first time since 2013. To bounce back from that, we want to make it to semis,” Tantillo said. “I keep telling the girls that our end goal of playing is May 14, which is the state championship game, and I know it’s also their goal because if you’re not playing to be the best in the state, then what are you playing for?”
While the girl’s team made it to the second round of the playoffs, the boy’s team failed to reach the playoffs last season. Due to the performance, head coach Neil Hilton says some changes were made within the program.
“We’ve made quite a few changes in order to get to the level we want to be at,” Hilton said. “We did a strength and conditioning course over the summer and everyone had to be in a fall sport so we had a lot in cross country, swimming and wrestling. It seems to have really helped the guy’s fitness levels.”
With the increased time the teammates were allotted to spend with each other leading up to the year, Hilton says the overall team chemistry has improved greatly.
“I feel like team chemistry is one thing the summer program helped us with. They got to become friends and got to know each other a lot better. The team is a lot closer at this point,” Hilton said.
On the girl’s side, more of the same could be seen about the team chemistry Tantillo explains. With off-the-field activities, the team was able to become much closer.
“These girls are doing a great job with team bonding,” Tantillo said. “I know in December and January they all went to basketball and wrestling matches together and they went to team dinners together. Off the field activities are great and they’re definitely putting in the effort to all get to know each other.”
With the team bonding off the field, senior Jasie Eischen explains that the connection the girls have formed is improving the team on the field.
“We are able to work hard and still have fun with each other. This year we have put a big emphasis on team encouragement and I believe it has had a positive impact on the field,” Eischen said. “Every girl is always pushing someone else to do their best. We all hold each other accountable and to high standards.”
Looking forward, both teams hope to use the chemistry to their advantage and look for a successful season. Senior Jasen Brus has high expectations for the boy’s team and hopes to represent the school well along the way.
“The goal is to make playoffs but if that doesn’t end up working then we just want to get closer and to represent Yukon the right way,” Brus said.