Kicking Back into Spring Sports: Freshman Girls’ Soccer

The final trimester of RHS sports for the 2013-2014 school year has begun. Spring sports including Track & Field, Boys’ Volleyball, Swimming, Girls’ Soccer, and many more have started practice in anticipation of their upcoming seasons.

The coaches of these sports teams are constantly seeking to modify their programs by improving their talent pools while also promoting a wide variety of student involvement. Girls’ Soccer in particular is reshaping its program this year to accommodate an unprecedented number of hopeful freshman athletes.

“I joined the coaching staff here in 1999. We thought about having a freshman team in previous years, but it never came together because there were too many unknowns. We’ve decided to put a freshman program together this year because there is such a large number of freshmen interested in playing,” varsity coach Paul Morrison said.

The establishment of a freshman soccer team implicates both freshman and sophomore athletes trying out this year. While the sophomores are generally pleased about the coaches’ decisions to field a freshman team, some freshmen would’ve been happier to see two JV teams.

Kayla Raetz and Ashley Kleczek, sophomore athletes who were on the JV soccer team last year, are pleased with the new program. “I’m happy they [the coaches] decided on a freshman team. It takes the pressure off of us,” Kayla said.

“Since there’s not going to be as many freshmen trying out for the JV team, there are more spots open for sophomores,” Ashley said.

Both girls seem convinced that a freshman team will better accommodate Rocklin’s program this year.

“I’m glad they didn’t make two JV teams because that takes away from the pride and accomplishment of playing at the JV level,” Ashley said.

Carly Hinton, a freshman trying out for soccer, is also excited to see Rocklin expanding its soccer program.

“A freshman team allows more people to participate and represent the school,” she said, “But I still would’ve preferred two JV teams because that would allow selections to be made based on talent rather than age.”

Out of the 40 freshmen trying out this year, it is expected that 2-4 will land a spot on Varsity, around 10 will mix with the sophomores on the JV team, and the remainder will be looking for a slot on the freshman team.

Since the soccer field will be occupied by the JV and varsity teams, the freshman squad will move over to Victory High School during practices. Although their numbers are not yet finalized due to a conflict with the basketball season, freshmen coaches Paul Werner and Geoff Clarion hope to carry between 15 and 20 athletes.

Due to the limited number of schools supporting a freshman soccer program, the RHS freshman team will compete with schools outside the Sierra Foothill League. Their competition includes Roseville, Bella Vista, Rio Americano, Oakridge, Folsom, Ponderosa, St. Francis, Granite Bay, Whitney, El Camino, and Del Campo.

The 2014 season is monumental for the RHS Girls’ Soccer program, as it tests the foundation of a freshman squad that can potentially bring Rocklin to the next level of competition by expanding its pool of athletes.