A Thanks is Not Enough…But It’s All I Got.

November 26, 2014 by

A season takes a lot of people pulling in one direction towards a common goal and it would be remiss of me to not take a more public forum to thank so many people for what they did for our team this fall. This BLOG that reaches millions worldwide is my public forum so please pass on my message to the technologically challenged people out there. These are not in any order of ranking or importance. It takes a lot of people to truly make a team better.

1) Parents

What a great group of loyal supporters you have been this year. You have traveled in numbers, watched online and the team and staff fully appreciate your efforts. Tailgates at home games, meals on the road, kind words to me personally and thoughtful letters are very much appreciated and never taken for granted. Your class at games always shines through, which is something you always appreciate when you hear the nonsense that comes from other people. I hope you watched the last game of the season and felt the same way I did at the end – sad to lose, but proud of the character and pride the team showed in representing the program and the school. You only see the games, I see it every day.

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2) Alumnae

Thanks for coming to games both at home and on the road this season. It is rewarding as a coach to know you still care and think of the program so passionately. For those of you who could not make a live game, thanks for the numerous texts and e-mails both celebrating wins and commiserating the losses. Your support says so much about you as people. Once a General…..

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3) Jeremy Franklin

If you do not know this fine young man you are missing out. He is the guy that broadcasts our games in his insightful and professional manner. If you listen to other school’s broadcasts you can appreciate how good this guy really is. He is knowledgeable, intelligent and above all else he truly cares about the team and makes every effort to get to know the players as more than just a kid in a jersey with a number on her back. It would be a very sad day if Jeremy Franklin left the hallowed campus of Washington and Lee.

4) Danielle Davis

Our new trainer, Danielle, did a great job this year at keeping us all as healthy as possible. It’s a long season and our training staff works some very long hours and I want them to know that every minute you spend with the athletes is appreciated. It certainly makes coaches lives much easier.

5) Reba Miller: Sports Information Office

The announcer at the games and the person responsible for getting stats updated and game reports out on the website in a timely manner. Reba has done an outstanding job in her first year at Washington and Lee and it is something I do not take for granted when games are staffed appropriately so we can concentrate on the coaching side of things.

6) Tommy and Baner

This sounds like a comedic duo and could easily pass for one… These guys look after the players every need during the season down in the stadium equipment room. Whatever the player’s need, Tommy and Baner take care of it with a kind word and an even bigger smile. Nothing is too much trouble. They enjoy the wins and have comforting words when things do not go well. We would truly be lost without these guys.

7) Megan Fulcher

Dr. Fulcher is the women’s soccer team’s faculty athletic mentor and has been a big help to our players when they need academic advice with classes, as well as really understanding them off the field (This means feeding them…they are not that complex). Megan’s Peanut Butter Balls (size of beach balls) are always a welcomed gift in the locker room. She and her family drive to away games and support the Generals through the goodness of their hearts and we appreciate the support.

8) Mike Mayo

Who? He hides behind the scenes and prefers it that way but Mike is responsible for making sure we have awesome fields to play and practice on every day. Over the last few years our fields have improved largely due to Mike’s attention to them and pride in his work. A great guy that goes above and beyond because he truly cares.

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9. Fans

Student body, friends of players, faculty, school administrators and community people all come out to support the Generals. It means a lot to a player to see people fill the stands and that the faces are familiar. What would we do without Bob’s double bubble? One of my favorite things over the last couple of years has been the support of the other teams on campus who rearrange practice or just encourage their teams to support each other. Swimming, Women’s Basketball, Football, Men’s Soccer, Volleyball, Men’s Lax we owe you and look forward to returning the favor whenever we can.

10) Coach Rachael

I enjoy working with you. You have a great understanding of what it takes to be a coach and balance being accessible to players with a sense of no compromise either. Holding players accountable and pushing them to improve is why we are successful. You are a great role model on and off the field because you have truly walked in their shoes and continue to work hard every day. Nothing is easy, life can be tough but your attitude is refreshing in educating the players make that transition to college. I am truly blessed to work with you.

Coach Cunningham’s Unofficial..But Still Very Important Awards

November 19, 2014 by

Parent of the Year: Phil Abraham

I know you all could be the deserving one but since when did anyone care about parents feelings. Phil has been the unofficial team photographer for as long as I can remember and I know I speak for a few people when I say thank-you for all your pictures. You have not only provided a service to the team and parents but from a coach’s perspective you have been a friendly face and committed and dedicated person and always had a kind word to say regardless of the performance and result. You will be missed on the sideline for sure.

Most Promising Freshman Player: Kelsey Jervis

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It is difficult to start college and be thrust into a key role at the back for the Generals. Add to the fact that you are playing in a new system of three at the back and suffice to say you have been outstanding. You got better as the year went on and often that is not the case about first year’s in particular. A solid performer and an ever present at the back are excellent indicators to future success. Great job Kelso! I predict a very bright future and I know some stuff.

Best Breakthrough season: Tricia Jessee and Katie Pettit

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Two sophomores that had amazing seasons. I know they received accolades and plaudits from the league but what the league does not see is how they got there. Pushing oneself out of season brings the biggest reward and these two ladies really got after it in the gym, on the track and the soccer field when nobody was watching and taking notes. The true mark of an athlete is what you do between seasons when things are not mandatory and the only thing keeping you going is a promise to yourself to be better. I have the utmost respe    ct for anyone achieving these goals. Great season Tricia and KP.

Tipped to make a huge impact in 2015: Olivia Hunter and Abby Thornton

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Olivia had a great second half to her freshman campaign. Once she got fit and mastered the art of playing quickly she proved to be an excellent performer at the back for the Generals. Arguably at the end of the season she was one of our best performers and a solid defender all around. I look for her to be a staple at the back for years to come. Abby spent the year rehabbing an injury and even though she shows great promise as a cone mover and videographer I am excited to see her back out on the green grass ready to make up for lost time. A fierce competitor on the field and a wonderful person to coach as well.

Washington and Lee End of Season Awards: All-Conference

November 17, 2014 by

It is always rewarding after an excellent season that some individual team members receive recognition for their personal accomplishments. It is undoubtedly a team game and while we as coaches see these people in action every day we rely on other coaches voting for our players to be recognized.

Congratulations to Katie Rossi, Ashley Hogan, Tricia Jessee, Addie Healy, Katie Pettit and Holley Beasley for their fine seasons that helped us amass a 15-2-1 record.

KATIE ROSSI: Senior midfield player from Wyoming, DE

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Katie is Ms. Dependable on our team and never has a bad day. She comes to practice every day committed to doing her job to the best of her ability and works tirelessly every day to make the team better. She has been our right midfield player all season and I have no clue what we will do without her next year. This first team all-conference selection is a fitting end to a stellar career. It is rare you come across an individual like Katie that can continue to improve, is consistent every day, holds herself to a high standard and is the perfect example of being the ultimate team player.

ASHLEY HOGAN: Sophomore defender from Richmond, VA

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Until she got injured during the last 2 weeks of the season she was playing amazingly well. Building on her rookie of the year award from last year she picked up right where she left off and had an excellent season as a center back for the Generals. It is no secret that Hoagie is very consistent at practice and rarely puts a foot wrong. The ease in which she plays her position is so great to see every day. Ashley has a bright future ahead of her and will get even better.

TRICIA JESSEE: Sophomore forward from Roanoke, VA

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Tricia led the line for the Generals all season and scored some huge goals all year. At the end of the season she was virtually unplayable and was influential in our ODAC run to the championship game. Tricia scored 14 goals for the team and had an outstanding season. She should be commended on her fitness levels and her dedication to getting stronger was the most noticeable improvement to her game. Tricia was stronger in possession and physically able to meet the demands of the game. I am proud of how much she improved from last year and she has an exciting future ahead of her. First team all- conference is a fitting end to her year.

ADDIE HEALY: Junior GK from Waterford, VA

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Adele, Adelaide, Addie Healy had another tremendous year in goal for the Generals. Posting another 11 shutouts to her collection she also proved to be a valuable addition to the coaching staff bringing Shelbi Hendricks up to speed on the goalkeeping thing. Addie has worked hard at her game over the last couple of years, improved her decision making and has developed the ability to spot potential risks before they happen in the back line. I always appreciate her willingness to accept criticism in a mature manner, take it in stride and come out the other side better. It is becoming a rare quality these days with young adults. Addie is a wonderful kid and someone I always enjoy talking to on and off the field. Another great year for number 1 and hoping she saves her best for last.

KATIE PETTIT: Sophomore from San Diego, CA

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Katie is the best example of what can happen to your fortunes when you work hard, pay attention, gain some confidence and perform better than you thought imaginable. What a year for someone that was primarily used as a role player as a first year in a variety of positions. Now as a sophomore she played central midfield in all the games starting 17 as opposed to 4 last year. KP was reliable at practice and just had an amazing season. KP should serve as a poster child for any player on the fringes of the team and be a role model for how personal responsibility and accountability can literally lead to a much larger piece of the pie. What a fabulous year for our California native and I know it will just get better.

HOLLEY BEASLEY: Senior from Virginia Beach, VA

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What is there to say about this kid? She has been an inspirational player and leader for the blue and white over the years and has been my rock in the team. I am thankful for having spent time with Holley on and off the field as she is just a fantastic person. She has exemplified what it means to be a women’s soccer player in our program and sacrificed so much for the good of the team and program. It will be strange to put a team out there next year and have a different kid wearing the #6 as she has been such a positive influence on everything we have done. A fierce competitor, great teammate and dynamic leader Holley leaves our program in better shape but with a big hole in the middle of the field. Thanks Holley for all you have done.

BEST DAY EVER- By Captains: Holley and Krush

September 8, 2014 by

Our Gennies retreat began with a “scenic tour of Lexington” as Coach likes to call it. In reality, we drove 15 minutes in the wrong direction and Rachael demonstrated her van-driving skills with a poorly executed 3-point turn. But give her a break, she just got her license last week.

Eventually we reached our destination. Attempting to describe it is nearly impossible; but it was awesome. Highlights included Ski Ball, a movie theater, Pinball machines, and a collection of guitars signed by every band or singer you’ve ever heard of. While the younger Gennies ran around exploring all the games, us old grandmas, aka the Seniors, posted up in the movie theater demanding snacks. And so the eating ensued.

First Course: Chips and salsa

Second Course: Pronto

Third Course: A cookie-dough, oreo, brownie concoction created by the junior class

Fourth Course: Sour Patch Kids

Fifth Course: Repeat courses 1-4 until you can no longer move

Once we finished eating, we moved on to the Gennies second favorite activity: games (pronounced james). Wardy, Kelsey Jervis (Kelso), Addie, Meaghan, Erin Duffy (Duff Masta), and others spent 20 minutes setting up Clue, but only 20 seconds actually playing. Kelso managed to guess who committed the crime in the second turn of the game. Noted: freshmen are cheaters.

Another gaggle of Gennies did their best Coach impersonations (multiple times) in a game of Charades. Apparently in Germany there is one universal dance to act out every Charades word; KJ did the same wiggle for “Teletubbies”, “candle”, and “Veggie Tales”. Eventually, Charades transitioned into Fishbowl, made possible by Kate Sourfoot’s hundreds of pre-cut paper squares. Who would’ve thought, Kate came prepared?

Meanwhile, the lazier Gennies pretended they knew what was going on in an English Premier League game between Arsenal and we’re not sure because we slept through most of it. For more information, ask Wardy. After realizing no one had seen Kathryn Riley for a good 8 hours, Abe directed us to a bench outside where Riley introduced us to her new pet cat, Miley. To be determined if Riley will ever forgive Coach for not letting Miley inside during the torrential rainstorm.

Next, the Gennies broke into groups to determine the team goals for the upcoming 2014 season. It appeared that great minds think alike when we reconvened with basically identical goals, including the desire to have the highest team GPA not just at W&L, but in the entire world. Winning ODACs may have made the list as well. Discussing our plans to make the ODAC our “stomping ground” pumped us up so much that it was time to refuel. We set out for our sixth course at the Baja Bean in downtown Staunton.

Thoughts from Rachael on the Baja Bean: “All of our food looks the same. It’s just in different shapes” “Why aren’t my fajitas sizzling? That’s the only reason I ordered these” “I hate Uncle Jamie” (in the highest voice we’ve ever heard from Rachael).

The delicious Mexican food was made better by the entertainment happening right outside the window as countless cars struggled to parallel park. The seniors, coaches, and Hollis “the Baron” Tardy harshly critiqued everyone who attempted to squeeze their car into the spot.

The last stop of the day was Staunton’s finest bowling alley. After listening to Rachael brag all day about bowling being her best sport, the Gennies were anxious to put her in her place. Good thing we had Shelbi to show her up because it turns out the rest of us should stick to sports where you aren’t allowed to use your hands. Bowling Awards:

Becca Morris- most gutterballs in a single game, and smiling the whole time

Kathryn Riley- most enthusiastic

Lauren Abraham- comeback kid

Camille LeJeune- most creative technique

Alexa Dreyer aka Dreyer Machine- best name

Shelbi Hendricks- MVP

Katie Rossi- N/A

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Thanks to the coaches for organizing this awesome trip. It made for a fun day of team bonding and a great start to our championship-winning season.

Generals Giving Back to the Community Week

September 2, 2014 by

After a couple of very successful weeks of pre-season and our first two contests this past weekend the coaching staff felt that our players needed to broaden their horizons a little….So various community projects are being handled with usual Gennies enthusiasm in an attempt to bring a smile to someone else’s face (human or animal).

It is easy to get wrapped up in our fishbowl at Washington and Lee and we hope these connections will serve us and the community well in the future. We all need to serve and before we start school we have an abundance of time to give for sure.

See the first two adventures below:

Our sophomore class led by our very own “cat lady” and overall animal enthusiast Kathryn Riley went to the SPCA. Rumor has it that they tried in vain to smuggle dogs out afterwards.

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Our First year class enjoyed the afternoon with folks from the Mayflower Retirement Home. Mixing and mingling, enjoying conversation and bringing smiles to some folks that got a real bargain when 7 young females walked into their building today somewhere between Bingo and Dinner. Erin Duffy was our team leader and provided the pictures.

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Junior, Becca Dunn (aka Dunny), Experiences Uganda

August 18, 2014 by

Being a member of the W&L Women’s Soccer team inspired me to do my 8-week Shepherd Internship with Soccer Without Borders in Kampala, Uganda. Interns and employees of SWBU instruct and play soccer, teach English and Life Skills classes and engage the local community. Through this model, the organization attempts to mitigate the lack of opportunity and education in the Nsambya neighborhood of Kampala as well as address various obstacles of the refugee population it serves.

SWBU began in 2006 through the collaboration of an American named Ben Gucciardi and a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo named Raphael “Rapha” Murumbi. Rapha is college-educated and speaks English, French, and Swahili, among other languages and felt he could make a difference in the community by using soccer to connect refugee children and forgotten youth. After the community showed immense interest and support in the preliminary Soccer Without Borders camp, the program officially kicked off and worked to combat the various problems facing Kampala youth; such challenges include the lack of available space and opportunity for youth to actively explore social issues and community challenges, a lack of social capital, and a deficiency in potential opportunities for education, employment and personal growth.

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Working in Kampala, I witnessed so many things- corruption, chaos, suffering, joy, commitment, learning, sadness, the list goes on and on. My favorite part of the experience was connecting with the participants, especially one family in particular. The youth in the program are unbelievable; they look at things so simply and are independent beyond their years. I couldn’t stop smiling when we played at recess and I had a minimum of four kids hanging on me at all times. I cannot describe the feeling of seeing multiple small children running towards you down the road with open arms and loud, boisterous screams of “coach!” or “teacher!” making you feel like the most important person in the world.

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Playing my first soccer scrimmage with the u14 boys is an experience I will never forget. Most of them don’t have shoes and played on the field, full of dirt and rocks, barefoot. That was very painful for me to watch but the boys weren’t fazed in the slightest and were just grateful for the chance to play. They didn’t treat me like a muzungu (white person) or a girl or anything different than the rest of the team, which was especially surprising because I never got my soccer touch on the dirt pitch!
SWBU serves a need that no other organization in Kampala is serving and without it, the smart, hard-working and ambitious refugee youth would have no other alternatives. Since our participants are all refugees coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and Somalia, I learned a lot about the lack of rights/ hardships refugees face. They do not attend school because they cannot afford to attend and/or do not understand English (mostly speaking Swahili and French, languages not spoken in Uganda). Since English is the national language of Uganda, children need to speak some English to go to primary and secondary school and eventually to communicate for opportunities in the job market.

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These beautiful children with deep eyes and ebony faces have experienced more in their short lives than I will ever go through. I learned on our celebration of International Refugee Day that many participants have personal experiences with violence in the DRC, one of the local staff was a child soldier and has experiences with PTSD, and other various anecdotes such as fathers being killed or still missing. In my life skills lesson on global refugees, the students answered my question of “what challenges do refugees face?” with food, money, jobs, shoes, clothes, education, house and a lack of a mother and/or father. One said that he likes Uganda because “no one [will] come into our house and attack us.” Before this internship, I didn’t realize the chaos and fighting that plagues all of the DRC and I am heartbroken about the many lives it has affected. Yet these upsetting stories are always followed with comments on how parents and children are so appreciative of SWB and how they are eager to learn English and Life Skills (covering a range of topics such as geography, exercise, diet, hygiene, leadership, etc.) and of course how much they love playing soccer.

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This internship has taught me about true fulfillment and the rewards of working for a good cause. I am inspired by the dedication of the local staff, as they taught me about tenacious perseverance and unconditional love. Throughout my internship, my English 1 Advanced Class reminded me of our motto “kumbuka wewe ni nani,” which means always remember to be yourself. My time in Uganda taught me that I don’t need much to live on and be happy and that a child is begging for things I take for granted everyday (for example, three kids asked me after reading The Cat in the Hat if they could please take the book home with them). My kids undoubtedly taught me more than I taught them and I won’t forget how easily the roles of our lives could have been reversed.

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At the beginning of my internship, I felt overwhelmed by what our participants and their families have to handle on a daily basis. A quote I came across while reading depicted my feelings in the first couple of weeks: “sometimes working in a third world country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper.” However, one of my good friends from W&L responded back to my concerns and frustrations with another quote: “my life amounts to nothing more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” So although I was, at times, overwhelmed by the vulnerability and powerlessness of the refugees’ lives in Kampala, I was reminded daily of what SWB means to its participants, how overjoyed they were to see me and how proud they are of their accomplishments. The participants get to bond with their teammates, exercise and not worry or think about anything other than playing soccer. They get to yell at the top of their lungs and just be kids. They get to learn about different cultures, whether it is Uganda, the DRC, the U.S. or Canada, and be loved, hugged, high-fived, picked up, swung around, laugh and smile every day, something that none of them take for granted. I am completely confident that SWB is the highlight of everybody’s day – whether it is the kids, coaches or interns – and this experience will undoubtedly remain a highlight of my college career and always remain close to my heart.

In the Packet We Trust- By Sophomore Camille LeJeune

August 12, 2014 by

My own personal hell takes shape in the form of the Washington and Lee women’s soccer summer training manual. When the coaches hand out that thing, hot off the press, so genuinely proud of their craftsmanship of torture, every fiber of my being cringes in fear. Instead of reading motivational quotes and workout instructions, all I see are pages littered with the words “Abandon all hope” and “Death by exercise.”

Despite my dramatized emotions, let’s be honest, nobody gets excited for The Packet. Sure, I’m excited that the start of season is near, I’m excited to play soccer and fight and score and feel that incomparable adrenaline that comes with winning. However, getting to that point requires following The Packet, and we all know that “fun” and “conditioning” are essentially antonyms in my glossary. Why run until I’m gasping for relief, begging the Grim Reaper to take his prize? (Only the good die young, right?) Why choke back vomit as an automatic reaction to seeing a track? (C’mon, Track Carnival, really? So misleading. I’m pretty sure this workout involves no cotton candy, no carousels, and no Noah Calhoun. How about “Laps of Doom?” (Trademark pending.)) Why get up before noon during the dog days of summer only to sweat so profusely that your headphones won’t stay in your ears? My couch is comfy, Game of Thrones is on, and I’ve got a full jar of Nutella in my pantry. But as tempting as that sounds, the answer is: because it’s worth it.

As students of Washington & Lee University, NARP or not, we are competitive. We had to one-up thousands of kids in this country because we wanted our name on that acceptance list. And as soccer players of W&L, we want our names on that roster. And more than that, we want on the starting line-up, too. We want it all. So in order to chase a ball around a grass pit and put it in a little rectangle, we carry that packet around like a monk with his Bible. We refuse to beat. We refuse to be outworked. And that all begins with putting The Packet’s wisdom into practice. And so we do. It becomes our closest confidante, coming on vacations, enduring sweltering heat, muddy rain, and dripping sweat. It nudges us out of bed and into cleats, staring us down until the day’s work has been completed. We don’t do it because we have to, or because Coach is gonna kill us if we don’t, or even for the toned legs (which I’ll admit, is a plus), but we do it because there is a competitive fire that runs through the veins of W&L’s women’s soccer team. And that fire, ignited by discipline, blazes fiercely in our hearts and will bring us great successes throughout the season. (Or maybe that’s just heartburn from the three hotdogs I ate earlier, idk.)

Despite my incessant jokes and complaints, the feeling of stepping out onto Watt Field, the air crisp with fall and the lingering scent of freshly mowed grass, the warm-up jitters, and the sound of the ball hitting the back of the net makes it all worth it. So go forth into this last week with that mindset, and carry around The Packet with pride. You’ve only got one more week with it, so heed its wisdom and cherish these final moments, because the worst is nearly over. (We can burn them later.)

In The Packet we trust,

Camille LeJeune
Sophomore

Highlights from Soccer Camp at Washington and Lee

July 1, 2014 by

June 20th-23rd, 2014

The 2014 camp is over and it was a very successful four days of soccer. I want to thank our magnificent staff, including our college players for all their hard work and dedication to their chosen sport. It is always neat to see six of your college players working camp having been past campers themselves not too long ago.

Thanks to the kids on camp who made the camp so much fun and of course the parents for entrusting us with your daughter for four days. Hope to see you back next year with a friend or two.

Here are my favorite parts of camp for 2014:

RETURNING CAMPERS:

Thanks to all the soccer players who returned from last year receiving their very sharp looking free camp ball. Special mention to the SOCA girls from Charlottesville for returning and also the Christiansburg Griffins for returning and adding some friends to the mix. Sad news is that Bailee Brown from Salem, VA completed her 5th and final year at camp and is now “too old” for soccer camp.

FIVE SETS OF SISTERS:

Keeping it in the family at this years camp were Katrine and Julia Berg; Sarah and Allie Bower; Gwynne and Morgan Symons Buxton; Megan and Valerie O’Toole and Mackenzie and Grace Neff. A family that plays soccer together stays together.

USA V PORTUGAL:

To be able to watch the game with 100 soccer loving people in one venue was very cool. We all went through the ups and downs of that game. The US comeback to go 2-1 up and then the feeling of disappointment in the last 30 seconds of the game. At least we did not watch England.

THE ATTITUDE AND WORK RATE OF THE CAMPERS:

The kids were awesome all week. They did not cause anyone a minute’s trouble and approached everything with enthusiasm and great energy. We got stormed out the first night but everyone just rolled with it and worked even harder to make up for lost time. The training sessions were great and the games in the evening were both competitive and fun to watch.

STAFF:

Coach Rachael, Sandy, Kerry, Russell and Ross are not just very knowledgeable coaches but great people also. They did a great job educating the soccer players and serving as great ambassadors for the game. My players; Kate, Hollis, Addie, Wardy, Ashley and Jasmine are great role models for young aspiring female soccer players and worked hard for four days and were clearly exhausted at the end of camp. Hopefully some of the campers will come to one of our games this fall. I cannot fail to mention Josh, our trainer who looked after everyone’s aches and pains during camp (not just the kids).

TOP PROSPECTS/RECRUITS:

It was good to see some top prospective players for 2015 and 2016 attend camp and the game on the last morning was very encouraging for the future of the General’s soccer team. It was fast, technical and very competitive.

SCHOLARSHIP WINNER:

Some years you just have that special kid on camp that exemplifies what young soccer players should be all about. 100% every training session, a mischievous grin, the thrill of competing, never giving up and being genuinely a nice person. Ellie Byram was our winner this year and receives a free week at camp in 2015.

 

Enjoy the pictures on our Facebook page by liking us @Washington and Lee Women’s Soccer  and please join us in 2015 and bring a friend or two and spread the word.

 

Best of luck to all in your season.

 

Coach Neil and Coach Rachael

 

 

World Cup 2014 Predictions

June 12, 2014 by

I LOVE THE WORLD CUP! I have been waiting patiently for the 2014 World Cup to finally start in Brazil and I thought I would share my thoughts on who will advance and also share some picks for the championship on July 13th. There are 8 groups of 4 teams and the top 2 from each group advance in a single elimination tournament once in the round of 16.

GROUP A

Brazil, Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon

Brazil and Croatia are my two picks to advance from this group. Brazil has all the superstars including Neymar, Oscar, Hulk and many others. Croatia has an outstanding playmaker in Modric and the goalscoring prowess of Mandzukic.

GROUP B

Spain, Holland, Chile and Australia

Spain and Holland are my two picks. This is I believe to be the most cut and dried group with two powerhouses in Spain and Holland making up the group. The 2010 World Cup Winners against the runners up. Chile will probably give a good account of themselves and the climate will suit them. Australia should just bring the Foster’s and start early.

GROUP C

Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan

Ivory Coast and Japan are my two picks. This group may not sound exciting but it could be very interesting. Ivory Coast has some great senior players probably finishing their international careers; Drogba, Yaya Toure are both match winners on their day and will be a hard match up for anyone. Columbia will get some home support and Greece will just try to defend and bore us all to death and give the announcers nightmares at the same time.

GROUP D

Uruguay, Costa Rica, England and Italy

England and Uruguay are my two picks. I know what you are thinking. I picked England out of national pride or stupidity. I think for once we have a great mix of experience and some excellent young players with flat out speed. Put Rooney on the bench and we have a chance. Uruguay will be miserable at the back and have one of the best forward lines in the world with Suarez and Cavani so they always have a chance. Please Italy just go home early and save us from afternoon napping while we watch you kick everyone to death and roll all over the playing surface. Costa Rica should enjoy the Brazilian festivities.

 

GROUP E

Switzerland, Ecuador, France and Honduras

France and Ecuador are my two picks: After being very disappointing in World Cup 2010, departing without even scoring a goal and arguing the whole tournament with each other they have rebuilt and will be a formidable force this time around. The second team to qualify will be a tough one but Ecuador plays France in their last game so I think the draw will suit them best. Switzerland is just too nice but love their chocolate and Honduras will just miss out.

GROUP F

Argentina, Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria

Argentina and Bosnia are my two picks: Tough that they play each other first game but I still think they will both qualify. Argentina always has a great defense and with Aguero and Messi as their forward line they will be awesome. Strength and depth will be their thing and Messi’s disappointing showing in 2010 by his standards will drive them on. Bosnia has a proven scorer in Dzeko and is a good solid team all around. Nigeria will be exciting and Iran is the other team.

GROUP G

Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Germany and USA are my two picks. I have no sentiment here and I am not politically correct either. Germany is a no-brainer and if the US gets a good start the USA/Germany match-up is the last game and may not matter. That’s my logic here. USA will be organized and has nothing to lose in my opinion. I think Portugal’s day has passed and Ghana will be dangerous but I think disappointing.

GROUP H

Belgium, Algeria, Russia and South Korea.

Belgium and Russia are my two picks: Belgium has a great team of players that play in the best leagues in the world and the likes of Hazard, Lukaku and captain Kompany have a great chance in this World Cup. The hype may be a distraction but hopefully they can handle it. Russia is always a tough foe and being coached by the great Capello they will be extremely difficult to defeat. South Korea will play pretty soccer and Algeria does not have enough firepower.

 

SO I KNOW WHAT YOU ALL WANT TO HEAR. WHO IS GOING TO WIN?

Here are my picks and we also polled our team for who they think will win.

Coach Neil: ARGENTINA. Team to watch Bosnia

Coach Rachael: GERMANY

WHAT DO OUR PLAYERS KNOW?

Besides nothing about soccer whatsoever here are their picks:

GERMANY: Wardy, Harvs, Camille, Tricia, Hollis, Hoagie and Clem

BRAZIL: KJ, Holley, Riley, KP, Abby, Krush, Lucy

ARGENTINA: Addie, Kate and Abe

PORTUGAL: Meaghan

We also asked our incoming first year’s for next fall

Germany: Alexa, Kelsey and Caroline

Portugal: Chandler

Brazil: Becca, Julianne, Olivia

USA: Erin

WHO DO YOU HAVE? FEEL FREE TO RESPOND…..

Adventures in Spain- By Rising Senior, Holley Beasley

May 28, 2014 by

This spring term I ventured off to Cádiz, Spain where I was given the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the Spanish culture for a month by living with a host family and attending classes at the University of Cádiz, as well as enjoy the most beautiful beaches in southern Spain. My typical day began with an hour-long breakfast of bread and olive oil with my host dad, because, as he insisted, every day must start with a “peaceful breakfast”. I went to class in the mornings and spent most afternoons on the beach playing sand soccer. The Spanish style of play is very different from ours, with a lot less pushing and shoving and a lot more fancy footwork and bicycle kicks, so I tried to take note so I could be able to whip out some Wardy-moves come August. We ate the biggest meal of the day at 3 every afternoon. The meals were huge and delicious, so going hungry was never a concern for me, and after lunch the whole town would completely shut down for siesta, or nap time. We’re missing out over here by only giving naptime to babies. I was also able to travel around southern Spain on the weekends to Madrid, Seville, Bolonia, and Jerez. While I enjoyed spending time in other places, Cádiz was definitely my favorite and I was thankful to have it as my home base for the month.

The best part of my trip was, by far, my host family. On the first day of my program, my host parents, both of whom I towered over, welcomed me with open arms into their home and into their family and I could not have asked for a better family to spend my month with. While I learned a lot in school and in tours of museums and historical buildings, I learned the most from simply sitting with my parents at meal times and in the evenings. We would exchange funny stories and talk about our favorite foods, sports teams, and holidays. I told them all about my family at home, my school, and my friends, and I don’t think a day went by where I didn’t give them a good laugh with my mispronunciation or misuse of words that often caused me to say strange or inappropriate things without meaning to.

This past spring term was the adventure of a lifetime for me, and saying goodbye was not an easy task. I had a blast and learned a ton, but here are some of the things that I took away with me that I don’t think I will ever forget:

 

1. Bread is your friend. It works better than a spoon to eat soup with, it is easier to use than a knife to push food onto your fork, and everything tastes better on a slice of it. It’s good at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and anytime in between.

 

2. Walking is the best way to get anywhere. It’s also the only way to get anywhere. Leave your heels at home!

 

3. Personal space is overrated. Give every one two kisses to say both hello and goodbye with lots of hugs in between, and why watch a movie on separate pieces of furniture when the whole family can squeeze onto the same small sofa?

 

4. Enjoy where you are and what you’re doing. Put the cell phone away, take a look around, breathe in the air, listen, and observe the scenery, the flowers, and the people. Don’t rush through a meal at a restaurant. Eating out isn’t about the food at all. It’s about the company. Don’t gulp down your coffee. Take small sips and enjoy the moments before you need to be anywhere else.

 

5. The only way to learn and grow is to face a challenge head on and enjoy every second of it.

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