Pitch Present

My whole life has been dedicated to soccer, but I refuse to let the past dictate my present.


695 days. 

Prior to last week, that’s how long the Derry soccer program painfully went without a win. Spending so much time and effort at practices and games and finishing rep after rep to improve, just to walk away with nothing. Yet every practice, the team is out putting in the work. It never mattered if it was the blistering heat, the spine-chilling cold, or the pouring rain. We were out there trying to get better with really nothing to show for it.  

Derry soccer always had players that had the passion needed to win, and eventually, it paid off. 

This was a very crucial off-season for the team. Derry Soccer, which is made up of boys and girls, was in the market for a new coach. This has been a familiar situation for the team, as there has been a new coaching staff five times over the last six years. In hopes to end this streak, Scott Shaffer stepped into the head coaching position prior to camp. 

Coach Scott really turned the team around by showing Derry that they had the talent to be competitive, but they just needed one last push to get there. With support from our new coach, Derry won its first game of the season on September 3rd. This win was a huge step in the right direction for the team and helped reignite the passion for the sport in the athletes that were losing faith in the team. 

The way that we have seen our new coaches work for us makes it much easier to put in the work for them. At practices and games, everyone is there putting in their all. To me, situations like this allow soccer to feel therapeutic. When everyone is putting in the effort and the hours to make something work – it truly is inspiring. 

Personally, this has been a 13-year commitment to soccer. I started playing at the age of 4 and never looked back. It’s been a journey with lots of ups and downs. It’s no joke when people say that it’s been blood, sweat, and tears for them. My passion for the sport has taken me places that I didn’t think I’d get to see in high school. 

At the age of 14, I was at a national soccer tournament in Memphis Tennessee. Weeks prior, I felt like I was on top of the world for qualifying for the tournament, but a handful of games later, I was heartbroken because we lost the championship game. This is a rollercoaster of emotions that can be tough to explain to some. Constantly putting yourself through training can feel like torture, just to play a little bit better next time.

But that’s the fun of it, getting just 1 percent better each time. 

Putting in all that work so next time, it will be me who scores the game-winner. At the end of the day, it’s all because soccer has become a second home to me. Being on the pitch just lets go of all my stress from the day. That’s what can be so tough to try and explain to people because the feeling that I get inside when I lace up my spikes and step onto that grass is something that I haven’t felt anywhere else. 

This year, I’ve made it a priority to really appreciate that feeling now and live in the present because I’m a senior. I am over halfway through this season, and I’m not sure what life after high school has in store for me. As much as I don’t want to think about it, this season may be the last time I ever play this sport as I’ve known it for so long. 

Playing in college is still the same sport, of course, but will it have the same feeling as playing for Derry? Maybe, for the time being, some questions are best left unanswered, just long enough for me to make this last high school soccer season one to remember for a lifetime.

It may have been 695 days since Derry had won a game, but now the mentality is any game can be the next one.