A big build up for Summer Games
The next four weeks are big ones for the Avalon female soccer Summer Games team.
There is plenty of preparation for the athletes as they get set to showcase their talents on the Newfoundland and Labrador’s greatest athletic stage later this summer.
There’s new parts of the game to learn as much of the team are coming up from the under-12 level where they don’t use the full field, along with positions to get a handle on.
Still, coach Paige Coombs is seeing constant improvement from her young charges.
“I’m working on plays where some of them have only played on half field,” she said.
Coombs had 25 female athletes vie for 16 spots on the Avalon team. It was a competitive three tryouts as she dwindled down the numbers and came up with the squad she feels is best suited to have a good showing.
Avalon will square off with some of the best this province has to offer when they travel to Conception Bay South for the NL Summer Games Aug. 13-16. They’ll play their games on the field turf at the Topsail Soccer Field.
It’ll be different than what they’re used to in Harbour Grace, but they have some experience there.
“The players play a lot of Metro games on the field we’re using for the Summer Games,” said Coombs.
Members of the team are: Shelby Drover, Sarah Dawson, Emma Tetford, Hailee Hoyles, Abigail Hussey, Rebecca Sellars, Allie Drover, Kiera Legge, Erika Roul, Aliana King, Cassie Drover, Erica Butt, Hannah Doyle, Kiera Power, Mackaila Jensen and Haley Mae Dawe.
A willingness to learn
Sports are based on success mixed with a healthy dose of failure. For those still learning some of the finer points of the game, soccer falls into that category.
At the team’s practice last week, there’s plenty of times when the athletes take a little time to adjust to what they’re learning.
But, that adjustment period is short and they’re quickly performing the drills at a solid pace.
That important desire to keep improving and getting better is there as the team’s training enters the home stretch.
It’s something that’s im- pressed Coombs.
“They have a willingness to learn,” she said. “You can see them getting better every time out.”
Teams for the Games are usually a mixture of players from different minor sports organizations.
That can lead to some early growing pains as athletes have to get used to each other on and off the field. In today’s world, it might not be as much of an issue as before but it’s still there.
For Avalon, there was an initial feeling out process for the players, but that’s quickly dissipated as the weeks have rolled on.
“At first, they were a bit separate, but now you can’t tell they’re from different places,” said Coombs. “They’re coming together.”
The coach has a simple wish for her players when they enter the Games arena. She wants them to take everything in and enjoy the complete experience — including the Athlete’s Village they’ll call home for three days.
“I just want them to have fun,” said Coombs.
Avalon team member Sarah Dawson heads a ball during practice last week.
Members of the Avalon male soccer NL Summer Games team get put through