Moffat County girls soccer ready to turn around energy
For the Craig Press
What was already going to be a rebuilding year after coming back from having no season whatsoever had even more changes in store for Moffat County High School girls soccer in 2021.
But, after adapting to an unusual schedule, Bulldog players and coaches are ready to apply lessons learned on the field and make some noise this spring.
MCHS girls will kick off their season this week with a Thursday game in Aspen, a match that will be the first for some players entirely, as well as a welcome change for seasoned players and novices alike after largely indoor practices.
The Bulldogs were originally scheduled to host a home game on March 12 against Colorado Rocky Mountain, but the field was nowhere near ready thanks to a new wave of late winter snow. Now that the team has returned from spring break, the field is clear but still drying out, and they have taken to the MoCo gyms for practices.
In her second season as head coach, Chelsea Suazo is ready to improve on the 0-10 record from last year.
The fact that the schedule is back to its usual spring parameters will be helpful in itself considering last season saw her lose much of her roster following the end of the official school year as games went into June.
“Last year we started with about 25, but by the end of it we were just trying to field a team with 11 girls,” Suazo said.
She anticipates being able to retain players better this year, so far having 26 in her ranks.
“It’s about half freshmen, and I think we’ve got about five seniors. Quite a few of them played for the first time last year,” Suazo said.
She also has several upperclassmen who are competing at the high school level for the first time, including seniors Carla Silva and Karina Romero.
“It’s my last year here, so I just wanted to try this out and see how it goes, just have fun and make memories,” Silva said.
Romero said she was intimidated to join the team previously, but she wanted to be on the field anyway.
“I was kind of scared in past years because everyone’s pretty big and I’m really not,” Romero said. “I like defense because it’s so aggressive and I like that, but I feel like I could do whatever.”
So far, Suazo has been emphasizing conditioning and getting players ready for the prospect of running for 80 minutes straight, though the smaller indoor space has limited some elements that a full field will offer.
“That should be a huge adjustment for the girls just to be able to get out there in formation and everything,” Suazo said. “We’ll say terms that you would know out on the field like baseline, end line, 18-yard box, but you can’t really do those inside.”
Suazo is also firm about players showing the right level of dedication after last season.
“I’m trying to establish a boundary that you’re committing to a team, and this is what you’re signing up for,” she said. “You have to be motivated and show up and put forth effort in practice because if you show up and do nothing, why are you even here?”
If the numbers stay where they are, it should prove beneficial to everyone, Suazo said.
“What we’re excited about is getting a lot of these girls as much playing time as possible. We should be able to have JV games this year, even if we just play 9-on-9,” she said. “Getting them more playing time should help a lot for those younger girls so they’re ready going into senior year.”
Silva said she’s aiming to get at least victory out of the season.
“I really want to get a win for this team after some of the losses they had last year. We want to come in and finish strong,” she said. “I feel like we all have a pretty tight group. Even if we lose something, I think we can all come together like a team. That’s the most important thing for us.”
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