After a year of socially distanced, non-contact soccer practices in the fall of 2020, Concord Academy Girls Soccer has developed into a strong program. Both Junior Varsity and Varsity level teams remain undefeated as they approach their fourth game of the season.
Girls Varsity Soccer’s (GVS) first game was against Bancroft, where Tory Adams ’23 scored an impressive goal within forty-five seconds of kickoff. The high energy at the beginning of play set the tone for the remainder of the game, where CA scored nine goals by six different players. Bancroft managed to score four lucky goals off of free or penalty kicks using their talented attacking line.
After a long bus ride to Rhode Island the following week, GVS defeated a tougher opponent, Portsmouth Abbey, with a 5-0 final score. During the initial twenty minutes of the game, CA’s defense was caught off guard by Abbey’s skilled center midfielder but later worked to maintain possession. By the end of the first half, CA scored three goals and used this momentum to score two more from outside of the box by the end of the game.
GVS’s third game was at home against Beaver Country Day, a tough team that CA lost 0-4 in 2019. The CA community came out to support and cheer on players throughout a long, and very competitive game. Although the game ended in a tie, CA had multiple close shots and many great saves from goalkeeper Kate Yanulis ’22. Girls Varsity Soccer’s next game is away and is against Newton Country Day School on September 29. In 2019, CA lost 1-3 but hopefully will keep up the hard work to keep an undefeated record.
None of these achievements would have been made possible without the outstanding coaching staff, comprising two new additions to the Varsity program: Ben Stumpf (head coach), and Lee Grainger (assistant coach). Stumpf has long been a part of soccer at CA, even as a captain of the Boys Varsity Soccer during his CA career; Grainger is brand new to CA, but, having started his own club, Total Soccer F.C., has experience as a soccer coach.
Although winning games is exciting, some of the most special parts of the team are embedded within the traditions. For example, at the end of each game, the Wolf Mask is awarded to the player who demonstrated the most aggression and urgency for the ball, and the Hard Hat is given to the person who worked the hardest and smartest on the field. Bus rides back from our opponents’ field or from the AC are packed with bonding games, enthusiastic cheers, and rounds of “kudos” where every player gets a chance to shout out something great that their teammate did in the game.
Kiran Bhat ’22 describes the tangible positive spirit: “The team has this incredible commitment to not just as Ben calls it ‘the beautiful game,’ but to each other. Even after really long days, we all shower each other with such good energy while practicing because I think we all genuinely love to play with each other.”
Photo courtesy of Concord Academy