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Girls soccer team builds positive atmosphere

Two+players+attempting+to+head+the+ball.+Photo+courtesy+of+MK+Moore.
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Girls soccer team builds positive atmosphere

Two players attempting to head the ball. Photo courtesy of MK Moore.

Two players attempting to head the ball. Photo courtesy of MK Moore.

Two players attempting to head the ball. Photo courtesy of MK Moore.

Two players attempting to head the ball. Photo courtesy of MK Moore.

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The girls soccer team went through a major change this year after losing 10 seniors. Senior Maggie Carlton who has been playing on the varsity team for all four years of high school was “definitely sad to see the class ahead of us leave. They had a lot of talented players and understood how to successfully implement our pressing style of play.”

While the team did lose a lot of key players, coach Stephen Gathany was not concerned.

“Usually when you lose that many seniors, there’s a huge hole to fill, but we had a lot of quality players that weren’t starters last year that we used as subs. We knew that they were excellent players, and now is their year to shine,” Gathany said.

The main difference Carlton and Gathany see between last year’s team and this year’s team is the change in atmosphere. According to Gathany, “there seems to be more positivity and more encouragement. We talked about this last year, about being a good teammate, but the girls this year have really taken that to the next step by being really good teammates to each other. They always support and encourage each other.”

The team this year is also working to be more collaborative among all grades, Carlton said.

“In past years, there has been a massive emphasis on seniority,” she said.

Now, Carlton feels everybody is able to give input.

“Everyone is willing to speak up when they have a suggestion. I think this season has allowed everyone on the team the opportunity to be a leader on the field or in the locker room in some meaningful way,” Carlton said.

Both Carlton and Gathany hope for the team to win the state championship. As a senior, though, Carlton would be happy with just getting far in the playoffs.

“Our senior class has not advanced to the final four since we were freshmen, and I would love to make it that far again,” she said.

Though Gathany would love to win the state championship, he believes that “at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that…it’s also important to develop as good people and I think it’s really important that each girl walks away a better person and a better teammate.”

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Decatur High School, GA
Girls soccer team builds positive atmosphere