Father-daughter duo making the best of new relationship
“I want Skylar to be the best. If I yell at the other girls, I feel bad, but being harder on (Skylar) is just me pushing her to work hard.”
— Harry Tripp, Moffat County High School girls varsity soccer coach, about coaching his daughter, Skylar.
Harry Tripp was no stranger to success on a soccer field in high school.
As a sophomore, junior and senior, Harry, who primarily played defense, helped lead his team to the Colorado boys state soccer tournament, advancing as far as the Elite 8.
However right out of high school, Harry and his wife, Erica, had their first daughter, Skylar, which Harry said made him put his soccer playing days on the back burner.
“When we had Skylar, Erica and I moved here to Craig from the Denver area because I had a job at the coal mine,” he said. “I still played in some adult soccer leagues, but nothing really hashed out and I couldn’t play that often.”
Skylar has proven to be the catalyst Harry needed to get back into the game.
Harry taught the ins and outs of soccer to his daughter before she was old enough to begin playing in the Craig Parks and Recreation leagues.
Then, when Skylar made the move to the co-ed traveling team, Harry realized he had to step in.
“We were in Utah watching Skylar play and we noticed the boys on the team weren’t passing to the girls, and there were about seven of them,” Harry said. “I talked to some of the other parents about needing to start a girls team, and the next year we had 14 or 15 girls come out and play.”
When Skylar entered her freshman year at Moffat County High School and joined the girls soccer team, Harry followed suit and took over the reigns for the Bulldogs.
Now as a junior, Skylar is the starting goalie for her father’s team.
“There are pros and cons, but it has been good,” Skylar said of having her dad as her coach. “Playing the game together, we get to be close and everything, but he definitely doesn’t favor me. Sometimes he is even harder on me and then I have to go home and he still coaches me.”
Harry admitted he is harder on Skylar at times, but it is only because he is her father and wants to see her succeed.
“I want Skylar to be the best,” he said. “If I yell at the other girls, I feel bad, but being harder on (Skylar) is just me pushing her to work hard.”
The father/coach and daughter/player relationship definitely has its pros too, Skylar said, especially off the field.
“There are girls on the team who know a lot about soccer, but I have learned so much from my dad because we talk about it everyday at home,” she said. “He’s always talking to me about watching other goalies and working on certain things. And we usually come to practice about 20 minutes early so he can shoot on me and take the time to help me improve.”
Skylar said she has always been partial to playing defense and goalie, but this is her first year as the starting goalkeeper.
The position isn’t the most glorified, she said, but kind of like the coach on the field.
“I’ve always been really good at defense and enjoyed playing goalie,” Skylar said. “Being goalie is so intense and you have to be really strong. When you let a goal in, you want to get down on yourself, but I have to keep my head up for the team. If I get down, then they all see that and no one plays well.”
Harry said he likes to think Skylar got her defensive mentality from him.
“It takes a certain type of person to pick up angles and see where a pass is going before it goes, and (Skylar) does those things,” he said. “I really like to stress defense with my team and she is a good defender.”
Harry may have another chance to coach a daughter, as his youngest, Sydni, who he said is more of an offensive player, is currently in the fifth grade.
But with the rest of this season and the next to coach Skylar, Harry said he is still enjoying teaching his oldest who brought him into a different role on the soccer field.
“As a goalie, (Skylar) can boot the ball as far as a lot of the boy goalies,” Harry said. “I may be hard on her at practices and in games, but I know her strengths and weaknesses and I am rooting for her all the time.
“I love watching her play.”