Camaraderie helps girls varsity soccer foster team spirit


Alpha Zerfu/Tower

Sophomore Anna Moscato, freshman Clio Foley and senior Hannah Schapiro celebrating during their away game against Greenwich Country Day School on October 7th. For senior Schapiro this is her last season with the Panthers. She committed to the University of Maryland to play soccer.

Viktoriia Sokolenko, Staff writer

This year, the Masters girls varsity soccer team welcomed eight new members. In the end, the team is made up of seven seniors, two juniors, and eleven freshmen and sophomores. With so many young and new members, the challenge arised of developing confidence in oneself and each other. Team’s coach Juan Cobos said that maintaining mental toughness helps to build confidence on the field. Along with technical skills and physical strength, the team also spent time developing mental skills. 

“When the ball comes in, some of us get very antsy and nervous, and the body starts to break down because the mind is going too fast,” Cobos said. “So it’s training your body to say, ‘Take a deep breath, you got this,’ and then make contact with the ball.”

The friendly and supportive atmosphere during the practices also helped to overcome the nervousness among the players. The team’s captains Hannah Schapiro, Lauren Marlowe, and Stella Simonds worked a lot on making the team more close-knitted.

“The tight knit unit comes from them [the captains] being supportive of each other, understanding that some of our players are young,” Cobos said. “They don’t put pressure on them. Instead, they try to make their lives easier. They try to make it so that the game is still fun.”

Schapiro, who has played soccer for twelve years, applauded the dedication of her younger teammates and their hard work during the season. 

“Everyone showed up to practice each day enthusiastic to learn and get better as a collective and individually,” she said. “No matter the difficulties that came our way, for example, if we were to concede a goal in a game, it only pushed us to come back stronger.”

Marlowe, Schapiro, and Simonds played together on the team for the last two years, but this season is their first one as captains. They felt that their leadership skills really helped them in this new role. 

“I think I’m able to motivate the team with warm ups on the field and keeping the morale up and helping everybody stay organized and play to their best and strongest abilities,” Marlowe said.

For Simonds, the most important part of her role was making strong connections with others. “I’ve really been thankful that I’ve been able to connect with every single player on this team, even if it’s their first year or their fourth year,” she said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the captains noticed the sense of community in the team weakening, and made it their goal to bring it back. Looking back on the season, their efforts paid off. 

“I’m most proud of how we have worked together as a team.” Marlowe said. “I think we’ve done really well communicating on the field and trying to prove ourselves as a Master’s girls soccer team.” 

Cobos also believes that the ability to rely on each other helped the team to improve on their skills on the field. “Our team is incredible when we start passing the ball,” he said. “When our team decides to pass and use each other and trust each other, their confidence grows. And that’s when the accomplishments are incredible, because we’re able to build the attack from the back or from the midfield.”

With their last game on November 1, girls varsity soccer has had a pretty balanced season with three wins, seven losses, and four ties. Cobos felt that it was the team spirit that helped the team to win the games. 

“The way that we won them was we did it together,” he said. “Everyone got involved. There wasn’t just one player that said, ‘I’m gonna score every goal,’ or it wasn’t just one player that said, ‘You know what, let me take over.’ We played a team game. And that’s what this sport is. It’s a team game.”