Many sports teams claim the attention of their fans for the showy titles of all-state winners or for holding the best records; however, Keith Short, the girls’ soccer coach of Milford High School, that teams should be recognized for the progress that its members make together.
The girls’ team, with 28 players on junior-varsity and varsity this year, had the drive and developed the chemistry that every team needs to be able to succeed. The first half of the season was rough for the team, as it went 3-5. After changing their strategy though, the team improved and came out of the whole season with 9-6.
Coach Short began the season with the strategy to defend more, and then counterattack out from their defense.
“When you’re going 3-5 in a season, you have to open the field up to score more. We began to attack more halfway through the season,” Short said.
As the season went on the team’s defense grew stronger, as did each of the players individually. A challenge of the season was coming into it not as physically fit as playing soccer requires.
In the prior off-season, the team had not played together, so their chemistry was off. In the face of adversity, the team gained the connections to one another that allowed them to develop their strengths.
“When the team got down, they would band together even more when discouraged. They persevered and came together as a team,” Short said.
The team this year was shaped around one player, upcoming senior Rebekah Yanacek. “She was the go-to girl,” said Short. “The other girls really picked up their game when she was on the field.”
Looking at his players strengths, Short tried to figure out the best way to play the game. Each year Short has coached, he has tried to work on different pieces of what makes a successful team. Adjusting to the players on the team, losing close games, and not having the pre-season preparation gave the team a slow start, but Short believes that “the run they had at the end could have been how they played all season.”
The team’s goal for the season was to make it to the state championship. “Losing was difficult for them to accept, but they stuck in there and kept working at it. We hated for the season to end when they were playing so well,” said Short. “They were a little disappointed, but still very proud.”