NEW LONDON — Members of the middle school girl's soccer team had the chance to practice with, bond and hear advice from members of the high school varsity team at a combined practice earlier this month.
On Tuesday, Sept. 10, a total of 14 members of the Kearsarge Regional High School varsity girl's soccer team joined the Kearsarge Regional Middle School girl's soccer program for its practice. The high school students led the younger players in groups by position, and practiced various drills before holding a series of scrimmages.
“It was an awesome practice," said Reese Lacombe, an eighth-grade student and member of the middle school soccer program. "Working with and hearing from the varsity girls inspired me to be the best me both on and off the pitch."
“Being able to scrimmage with the high school team was a lot of fun!” said Kylie LaBelle, an eighth-grade student and member of the middle school soccer program.
At the end of the practice, the older players imparted advice and words of encouragement to the younger students, including suggestions that they foster a "soccer family" and build close friendships with their teammates, continue training over the summer to prepare for the fall season, and to value their friendships on and off the playing field.
“Working with the middle school girls was a great opportunity to combine the current and upcoming players," said Jordan Busch, a 12th-grade student and member of the high school varsity girl's soccer team. "It is crucial to create strong bonds between teammates and working with the younger girls gave everyone the ability to get to know each other and have fun together.”
“I thought that this was an amazing opportunity for everyone there," said Mary Meagher, a 12th-grade student and member of the high school varsity girl's soccer team. "It was awesome that the younger girls were so excited to have us there. They are crucial to bettering our program in the future and I have great confidence that they will have great seasons ahead.”
Kearsarge Regional High girl's varsity soccer team Head Coach Emily Wagman partnered with Kearsarge Athletic Director Scott Fitzgerald, middle school Athletic Coordinator Nathan Camp, middle school Athletic Coordinator John Geary and middle school girl's soccer Coach Dave Smith to organize the practice.
"It is extremely important for young athletes to build connections," Coach Wagman said. "The inter-squad practice is a great opportunity for the high school players to give back to the program and to build connections with the middle school players, many of whom will soon be their teammates.
“It is also important for the younger players to build a connection with the older players to bridge the gap between middle school and high school, to ease the upcoming transition and continue to build the girl's soccer program."