This is a story that started long ago.
Maybe 2006? Earlier? Somewhere around there, anyway.
My niece, at that point, was a soccer nut. She played travel soccer for tots. She was all of about 8 or 9. So she probably started playing well before that, but this was my time in documenting many games with my camera.
I haven’t been to every game my niece has played in. But I’ve been to my fair share. And, despite knowing quite a bit about the game, I’m not always the biggest fan. Whether it’s fans or whatever else, I don’t always enjoy myself. When I go, however, I try and get away from people. I watch, I’ll cheer and I support.
Two Sundays ago, my nice — a junior in high school — and her teammates won a state championship. It was the second straight year they played in the title game, losing in overtime last year.
Many of these girls have played together through all these years. From “pee-wee” style, to travel, to indoor, to junior high, to JV to varsity …
Yeah, it’s been quite a trip.
It’s quite amazing, actually, to look at some of these older photos. To see how these young ladies have grown and developed as players. They’ve always been quite talented, too.
One of the best parts about these girls is many of them went through the ranks together. To be sure, there are key people who joined up at different times, but a good handful of these girls started at a young age together.
That has to help.
Not just for the sake of knowing one another, but have been friends for a long time and know what the others can do.
Last year, this one set of girls were sophomores. Though there were upperclassmen on the team, these girls made an impact.
How good were they?
Two of them shared player of the year honors from the local newspaper.
This year, they were strong as normal. They rallied in spots they needed to. They reached the state final and the opposing team scored early. Things didn’t seem so good.
But, despite how the game went, they battled. A goal early in the second half tied it and then the winner — an extremely odd and crazy goal — came with about a minute left.
When the final horn sounded, they exploded in celebration.
I went digging for the photos of my niece in this post. But while I was at it, I found some others of the girls she is still teammates with. It’s quite amazing to see what they were like back then — still battling, still playing and still competing. They learned young and the payoff was obviously worth the time.
Hopefully, they cherish this moment and relish in the accomplish they had. It’s something to truly be proud and thankful for. A hearty congrats and maybe they’ll be able to do it again next year.
Check out some of the photos below.
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