GRAPEVINE, Texas – Two years ago, Faith’s girls’ soccer team ended their season with a loss in the state semi-finals. They have not played a single game since. Now with resurgent numbers, the team is being reinstated at Faith with Mr. Jon Brooks at the helm.
“[Girls’ soccer] stopped simply because we did not have the numbers to make a team,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s best to simply stop a program until you can sustain it, and two years later that’s now.”
“Last year, we had in junior high a surge of young ladies that played. We had some parents that were very excited and got an unofficial junior team together. Those girls moved in this year as freshmen,” Mr. Brooks said. With more interest in the sport this year, Mr. Brooks is confident that there will be enough to make a team. “Because we have girls in other sports, we won’t know until the [October] 28th, which is our first official day of practice, but we are looking at between 22 and 28,” he said.
When he heard the school was in the interview process, Mr. Brooks said he “saw a need and felt that because of my relationship with the students that I could provide an immediate catalyst for that program. I have good relationships with our students and knew that I could probably get some girls to play that would just be thinking about it.”
Mr. Brooks gets to practice with the girls three days a week for offseason workouts right now. The girls are working heavily on skills training. “They’re coming along really well. We have probably half the girls who have never played soccer and they’re learning quickly how to maneuver the ball and do it well,” Mr. Brooks said.
Some of the girls have played club soccer before, and Mr. Brooks is looking to them to form a “nucleus” for the program. “There’s not a school out there who every girl on their roster plays club ball. They all are in the same boat trying to get the girls on the fringe to get better. That’s going to be the key: who can make those girls better, quicker and more effective,” he said.
The girls’ soccer program’s goals for this year are to “love the game of soccer. In doing that, I want us to play hard, to be aggressive,” Mr. Brooks said. He also wants the girls to win “the mental battle that always goes on prior to a game when you look across at your opponent and wonder what they’re like.”
Mr. Brooks is not afraid of any high expectations for this year. Knowing that the men’s team at Faith has been very successful, he does not think people’s expectations for them will translate to the girls’ team “because we’re coming off of a break and they understand that we just haven’t had a team for two years. There’s been nothing to grow so we truly are starting at ground zero.”
“Our first goal is to get to playoffs. Other than that I couldn’t tell you, having not even seen our team, much less the other teams as a whole,” he said. The odds are in their favor as four out of the five teams in their district will move on to playoffs.
“Anytime you start back up, though, you have to make sure you can sustain it,” Mr. Brooks said. Coach Kris Hogan, Faith’s athletic director prefers that a sport be able to last at least four years to protect the school’s reputation in TAPPS. “There’s one thing worse than not having a team, and that’s having to forfeit games. That forfeits your right to playoffs and gives you a reputation you don’t want to have,” Mr. Brooks said.
Though this year’s team is a bit inexperienced and very young, Mr. Brooks said, “I think everyone’s going to be surprised when they see them. I think they’re going to do very well.”
To see this article as it was originally printed in the Grapevine Faith RAWR, click here.