Freshman talent stems from club teams

JAMIE BATEMAN

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Eight freshman girls were pulled up to play on the varsity soccer team this year. Each of them have also enjoyed success playing club soccer and feel that the training they received there helped prepare them for this season.

Of those eight, Kylie Granno, Hailey Linarez, Hannah Heaton, McKenzie Gill, Kelsey Gill and Ashlynn Hernandez all play on the U-15 A team for the Galaxy Blues, a competitive team that is not directly affiliated with the Roseville High School team. The Blues are currently ranked second in northern California and fifth in the region.

The other two freshmen, Molly Branigan and Sidney Atchinson, play on the USA Stars, another competitive team based in El Dorado.
According to RHS varsity coach Paul Stewart, the freshmen were pulled up because they have been able to adapt to the varsity level due to their high level competition outside of the RHS team on these club teams. He also added that the intensity of their game prompted some of the older players to step up their level of play.

“Most of their skills are because they play at that high, competitive level,” Stewart said. “Because these girls are aggressive and want to do really well and they have a high level game, all the other girls honestly picked up their game and so everybody has gotten better because of it.”

The girls feel confident playing alongside each other on the varsity field because they know one another so well from their club teams.

“It is really easy to play together,” Granno said. “It makes it even more fun because I know the girls and it’s definitely easier to connect with them.”

Heaton agrees and feels that the connections the girls have made outside of soccer have helped them a lot as well.

“Being together we have been able to make connections outside of soccer, as well as during,” Heaton said. “It has really rolled into high school soccer because we can all play together really well.”

Heaton thinks that all of the freshmen have done a good job connecting with the other girls and integrating into the varsity team despite all being new this year. However, she does admit that it took some time for the other varsity players to understand and adapt to their style of play.

“They certainly don’t know how we play as well [as we do],” Heaton said. “It wasn’t as good of a connection at first but now we have started to connect with them and it’s really good.”

Stewart believes that the relationship between the freshmen and the other varsity players has become stronger as the season has progressed and that now the team has a lot of chemistry.

“I think early in the season the [older] girls were afraid that, you know, ‘How would we be cohesive? Would the freshmen be able to handle big-type games like this?’ and things like that, but in the end I think that they see their skills,” Stewart said. “Overall everybody is very cohesive this year.”
He is excited for the remainder of the season and future seasons to come, as this year’s relatively young team has been very successful and he hopes that the girls’ talent will continue to grow as they get older.

“They’re going to get better; they’re young, so they’re going to learn how to finish, they’re going to get faster, they’re going to get stronger, they’re not going to get knocked off the ball by these big girls,” Stewart said. “I’m excited for the future.”Copy of DSC_8870Copy of DSC_8870