This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.
By Julia Goh (16A01A) and Lee Rui En (16S06A)
You may not see us with our muddy boots and neon-coloured training jerseys as the popular girls in the school (in fact, you’ll probably hear us before you see us), but we play the most popular sport in the world! What brings us down to the bumpy field in the sweltering heat? Soccer, our love for the sport and of course our love for each other (coaches, teammates and seniors).
We have three CCA sessions per week: physical training (PT) on Mondays and ball trainings on Tuesdays and Fridays. While PT doesn’t sound particularly exciting, what helps us get started and get through 10 rounds on the track or circuits, are your batchmates who cheer you on and encourage you to go further. PT days are bonding days where we get to push our limits together as a team, with each rep building towards an additional sprint or pass out on the field. Ball trainings focus more on individual skills, where we do drills involving passing and trapping the ball. While it’s a little more serious and challenging at the start, we never fail to make each other laugh, be it a one-liner from Mr Leong, a tease from Mr Man or laughing off mistakes in good fun! While sessions may test us physically and mentally, what every teammate looks forward to through the drills and rounds around the track is the short game we have at the end (a little friendly competition makes for a lot of fun and laughter too!).
Essentially, we look forward to every training session with the good company, challenging activities and our desire to improve and better play the beautiful sport.
Sessions are a lot of fun (!!!), albeit a tiny bit tiring. But the sense of belonging and knowing that your teammates will be with you along the way makes the extra rounds or the additional 10 minutes of play a lot easier. Plus, it’s always refreshing to pick up a new skill and try a new sport! By playing a team sport, we feel the frustration, the strain and the adrenaline rush as you receive the ball at your feet. But most importantly, you feel the desire to improve, the belief in yourself and your teammates, as well as the willingness to put in the hard work necessary.
We are very fortunate to have a strong community of people helping us along our journey to nationals. Seniors who have graduated many many years ago (AKA “ancestors”) still come back to kick around occasionally and tell us how to improve. Teachers who enjoy playing the game come down to coach us sometimes as well, and while it might seem a bit intimidating, we are very fortunate and grateful to be able to be so supported. Soccer is a team sport and each team is a family of its own (with our coach affectionately known as Papa Leong).
Outside of sessions, we have regular team dinners after training and a shower buddy system for those who cannot stand being sticky on the way home (we have a stash of communal shampoo and soap). For those who have itchy feet, meeting up in school on the weekends to play a short game is also an option. But the main event to look forward to is a soccer training camp held at the end of the year! A 5-day intensive camp filled with drills, friendlies and a pool session that not only helps you improve, but also helps you bond better with your teammates (as you all will be the same shade of BLACK after the camp).
Overall, every minute spent training, doing circuits and playing games builds up our perseverance and our motivation. Soccer is as much a mental game as it is a physical sport and having the right mindset and attitude is crucial to surviving anything, from a day in class to 35 minutes on a field. Having 10 other teammates play on a massive field with you teaches you the importance of teamwork and trusting your teammate to cover your back, or to receive your pass. You not only learn to be a teamplayer yourself but to build relationships and work together to achieve your goals.
Because what makes the dream work? Teamwork.
Follow us on twitter @rjsoccergirls for regular match updates!