How the AJA Girls’ Soccer Team is Rising to the Challenge and Raring Their Engines for Next Year
By Jemima Schoen
Published in the June 3, 2022 Issue
Another year of soccer has just wrapped up for the Lady Jags, ending in time for final exams. This season has held moments of triumph, bonding, and learning for the Girls’ Soccer team. It was not always easy, but the players powered through and forged a solid foundation to be proud of.
According to the players, this season had a growth curve, but junior Ayla Cohen said that she “was happy with how we all had a good time regardless of the score,” and stayed positive, even though “record-wise the season wasn’t great.” Enthusiastic teammates freshman Kayla Joel and sophomore Tova Bregman looked at the big picture. “This soccer season was amazing, the team played the best season we have had in a long time,” shared Kayla, who played on the High School Soccer team while in Middle School. Tova, who is in her second year on the team, felt that “the Soccer season went really well, and even though we didn’t win a lot of games, everyone put in their best effort.”
It is never easy to play through a season facing recurrent disappointment, and players can get discouraged. “We kept on getting very frustrated because we were putting in our best effort and we weren’t winning any games,” said Tova. Ayla agreed, commenting, “I’d say this season falls along the trends of past seasons because we had some really strong individual players but still lost a lot.” The losses led to a drop in morale, and the girls had to approach the situation with a focus on confidence and discipline. It was difficult “remembering to keep our morale up after so many consecutive losses, but I think that ended up turning into a triumph of ours — keeping our heads up,” concluded Ayla.
The girls worked together and grew as a team, and what really made an impression on Kayla was seeing teammates who had never played soccer before step up and do a great job. For Tova, the fun bus rides to the games were the highlights, providing bonding time and getting prepped for play. Kayla apprec 3 3iated the culture of inclusivity and the willingness of coaches and teammates to have everyone participate and play. “Everyone was very welcoming, and even though I was a freshman, I felt included and I still played during games.” These are two important aspects of sports at AJA — welcoming athletes who are new to a sport onto a team, and appreciating teammates both as individuals and as part of a team.
Kayla saw each individual goal as a highlight, saying, “one of the greatest things about the season was when we scored a goal,” and as a step toward cementing a stronger and more united team. “I think that this season was so much better than last year. We scored, which is not something we did last year, and everyone seemed so close. This year was a lot more fun than last year’s season.”
A cohesive group, positive attitudes, growth mindset, and a common purpose. What is next for the Lady Jags Soccer team? As Ayla looks forward to her senior year, she hopes “that the AJA girls soccer team keeps up the hard work and good spirits, but also figures out how to raise our skill level, especially when playing against other schools.” Kayla echoed that sentiment. “I hope that in the future we can win some games and that the team will continue to have fun and be close with each other,” she said. Clearly, this is a team of dedicated athletes who are planning to put in the time and work to learn new skills and boost their performance while maintaining an atmosphere of friendship and fun. Go Jags