Girls soccer team faces off-season issues


Liliana Thomas

Freshman Gabriella Figuero dribbles the soccer ball in a game against Kirtland last season.

Jessica Lopez, Guest Writer

As the girls soccer team prepares to play next fall, they face some problems like finding a place to practice, availability of players, and other off-season issues.

Ivica Miljak, the varsity head coach, acknowledges that kids are involved in a lot of activities which makes it hard for them to be available in the off-season. He said, “They are very committed, which is a good thing, but just being less available for practice means that they’re not getting those repetitions that are going to help them just stay consistent throughout the year.”

Miljak finds it hard to get practices done as a whole team. He said, “I would say the main [issue we face] is that a lot of the girls play club soccer, and they have those schedules, which can be a conflict, that’s not a bad thing because they’re still training.”

Besides the girl’s lack of availability, Miljak tries to look for available spaces for his team to come together. He said, “The turf just reopened now that the weather is starting to get a little bit nicer after the winter, so we’ve been trying to practice in the field house, but that’s so booked with baseball, softball, track – it’s hard to find a place to practice, so that was a big challenge for me.”

Miljak thinks it is good for the girls to have that conflict because it means that they are playing all-year-round. He said, “The only way it’s challenging I would say is because with them not being available for our practices in the off-season, it can be challenging to have a good group. A good number to have a productive session, you know what I mean, so while it is good that they are away and training, it can be difficult from our group perspective to have a valuable training session.”

JV player Gabriella Figuero thinks time is one of the biggest issues the girls are facing right now in the off-season. She said, “It is hard for the girls sometimes [because] our coach would want to have a practice that day, and a lot of girls would not be able to make it because they have other priorities. This makes it really hard for the team to get good practice during the off-season.”

Liliana Thomas, also a JV player, has struggled with time in the off-season too. She said, “I haven’t really been able to go to [practices] because I have been doing side things, which are time-consuming and it’s going to make it tough for me to attend off-season practices. That is something challenging, yes I’m staying active, but I won’t be practicing with the soccer ball as often until the season starts.”

Figuero thinks that having jobs and other soccer activities is challenging. She said, “At the same time it is hard because once again they don’t have enough time to come to like the school team practices. It’s just really hard for them.”

Thomas keeps busy in the off-season with club soccer and is glad that Miljak is understanding about this because he also coaches club soccer. She said, “It is also hard with the schedule again not really being available when it comes to the school practices. That affects a lot of people, not only them but the team in general because we are not practicing as a team.”

According to Miljak, there can be a debate in soccer circles about playing club soccer or high school soccer, but he doesn’t make his players choose. He said, “I am not like that. I think club and high school both provide different things, and they’re both extremely important.”

The team hopes that by August 1, the date of their first soccer game in the fall, they will have enough time as a team to practice and prepare all together.