By Charmaine Tan (20S03A), Megan Khoe (20A01E), and Zitin Bali (20S06D)
We’ll be honest. There will be flying balls that you occasionally get hit by. There will be times when you get stepped on by studded boots. And there most definitely will be times when you start training with a white jersey but go home in a brown one. But there is no greater satisfaction than the sound a football makes as it finds its way into the back of a net or the dumbfounded expression of an opponent when you execute the perfect tackle.
As a developmental sport in RI, most of us, if not all, started from ground zero, so you need not worry about your prior experience or current fitness level. As our coach often tells us, fitness can be trained. More importantly, what we lack in experience, we compensate for with hard work, a burning desire to achieve our goals, and primarily—camaraderie. In our team, we are a family united by a common love for the sport and our teammates; pushing each other to reach the best of our abilities. Our trial consists of simple tests on your ball handling skills—dribbling, shooting, etc., but we are essentially looking out for members with an open mind, a willingness to learn, as well as wholehearted commitment.
If you love the sport and have thought of going far together with a group of 17 other girls that you will soon come to love as family, then maybe, despite the scorching heat, aching muscles and hours spent, you will find this experience worthwhile. Our training consists of Physical Training on Mondays (4.30pm-5.30pm), and Ball Training on Tuesdays and Fridays (4.30pm-7.30pm). This is by no means an easy commitment and there are days where you will be too exhausted to deal with that pile of homework after returning home from training, but what you will learn is that commitment and dedication go a long way, and it is the small sacrifices that matter the most.
Being in Soccer Girls is nothing less than an enriching experience: there are times when we exuberantly rejoice over our first win and there are times when we are overpowered by the bitter feeling known as failure. We recently suffered a horrific defeat and we won’t lie to you—it hurt. This is when we, as a team, learn not to give up on working harder, and most importantly, not to give up on each other. We have a long way to go and it is never going to be easy, but we hope that at the end of our journey we can leave the field with no regrets. Soccer is a team sport, where you learn that everyone has a role to play, and that no matter how good a player you are individually, when you get swarmed by the opposition team, you know that you need your teammates there with you. If one person in the team does not put in effort, everyone else will have to make up for it, so eventually you will learn to work hard not just for yourself, but even more so for the team.
Though the tough trainings and the commitment may seem daunting, you can be sure that you’ll have a strong safety net of support that you can fall back on: the coaches and teachers who never fail to guide us and care for us and our studies, who spend hours standing under the scorching sun with us during trainings, as well as your fellow teammates who will be sure to have your back both on and off the field. The friendships you will forge in this CCA will be some of the most precious and strongest ones out of your journey in JC, and the memories you will make will definitely stay with you far beyond your school days. The times when we fell to the ground laughing at silly mistakes we made, or when we pushed each other on through gruelling physical training are some that truly bond us as a team and make up the real experience of being in Soccer Girls.
Perhaps the most important thing you can take away from your time here is that putting your best into every training and every game is of paramount importance. Before our very first friendly, our coach told us that sometimes our efforts may not always commensurate with the outcome, but we will never lose on the field so long as we put in our all. And so, we would like to end off by quoting our coach—“Lose is okay. But must win.”