by Lily Jacobson ’24
High school sports offer a unique opportunity for students of any grade to showcase their talent and be placed at the varsity level. Students must decide how hard to work and how much time to dedicate to a sport to earn their spot on the team.
“Go in with the mindset that you have a shot [at making the team], but not with the mindset that you’re better than everyone else,” Girls Varsity Soccer (GVS) captain senior Alex Jaeger said. “Be prepared to hear NO, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work for the YES.”
Jaeger has played sports for her entire life, with a focus on soccer. She began playing competitively outside of school around eight years old and participates on a travel team. Throughout middle school, soccer was still a huge part of her life and she was the ball girl for the team until eighth grade, which is when she began playing on the varsity team after passing the varsity physical fitness test for a middle schooler to play at a high school level.
“As a freshman, I think I had a bit of a different experience than most other people because my sister was a senior at the time, so the seniors were still intimidating, but I had known them prior to being on the team,” Jaeger said. “Everyone was always super welcoming and if I could have done anything this year, that is what I wanted to do.”
A couple of years ago, when Jaeger was in eighth grade trying out for the GVS team, there was much more contention because there were going to be both junior varsity and varsity teams.
“I was going to work really hard, I went into everything thinking what happens, happens,” Jaeger said. “You cannot control what the coach is thinking, you cannot control what other people are thinking, the only thing you can do is focus on yourself and focus on your mindset. It’s more mental than physical if I’m being honest.”
Freshman Noa Klein had played soccer for about seven years and joined GVS this fall playing alongside upperclassmen.
“It was a little stressful being the youngest, but a bunch of the kids were really welcoming and I made good friends,” Klein said. “It was not as intimidating as you think it would be.”
Freshman Russman Wechsler originally did not make the boys Varsity soccer team but called up two weeks prior to the commencement of the boys soccer season.
“I wasn’t expecting them to be as nice as they were to me, but they were very welcoming and they didn’t treat me much differently as a freshman as opposed to an upperclassman,” Wechsler said. “They really helped me move up faster and understand because they knew I was new to it.”
When freshman Joseph Abecassis was young, he was the ball boy for the varsity soccer team for which he now plays.
“I think it was an amazing experience,” Abecassis said. “I got to play with some upperclassmen that I have known for a while so it is cool to finally play with them and share the field with them. It’s cool because varsity soccer is a great culture all around. I like it a lot and I learn from it.”
“Sometimes over the weekends the varsity team would get together and play soccer, talk and just hang out. Everyone was close together, we were all friends with each other on and off the field. It’s a brotherhood.”
Jaeger completed her final season as captain of the school team this fall.
“I just always try to be really welcoming and I feel like you’re always kind of timid when you’re younger and it’s freaky,” Jaeger said. “I just try to be as encouraging as possible, but still try to push them to be the best player and person they can be.”