Q&A with 2016-2017 varsity soccer captains: Rachel Pike, Liadan Solomon


Rachel Pike and Liadan Solomon, two out of the three 2016-2017 varsity soccer captains, pose after a win. The pair are the only seniors on the team. Photo courtesy of Solomon.

Although the winter season is just beginning for high school players, it has already been a successful year for Archer’s soccer alums.

Alumna Hillary O’Connor ’15 won the NCAA Division II National Championship with her team, the Western Washington University Vikings, on Dec. 3. Graduates Yasmeen Namazie ’15 and  Krysia Sikora ’13 also contributed to their respective teams, Swarthmore College and Duke University, in the NCAA Division III and Division I tournaments.

They may not be in college yet, but the Panthers — inspired by these past leaders — are also ready for a successful season.

Caitlin Mosch ’18, Rachel Pike ’17 and Liadan Solomon ’17 are this season’s captains for the varsity soccer team. They’re also the only upperclassmen on the team, which is mostly comprised of sophomores and freshmen.

The Oracle sat down with Mosch and Solomon to discuss their goals for the season and learn what the Archer soccer team means to them.

What is your favorite thing about soccer and why do you enjoy it?

Liadan Solomon [LS]:I always like playing team sports…I really like working with other people. I think there’s a certain joy in being able to work towards a common goal with other people. A lot of what I’ve liked about being on the Archer [soccer] team is the ability to have more of a presence on the field than I necessarily do on my club team. [Caitlin and I] both play different positions than we do on our club teams, and Rachel as well, so for us it’s also about learning how to adapt and be more of a versatile player that they can kind of put anywhere on the field. There’s a lot of joy in being able to take this time to improve and learn something new.

Caitlin Mosch [CM]: [Club soccer] is much more harsh and aggressive in a way, and competitive. Coming to Archer and playing for our team is probably one of my happiest times during the year because of the team itself and the energy that is put out onto the field. When I watch the Archer team playing, I can see the enjoyment in everyone’s faces, and that just makes me want to play harder and be more into it. There’s just something about being part of a team sport where you just feel so connected, especially with the soccer team. There’s something about when you play — everything just flies out of your head. Just, 100 percent, you’re only focused on what’s happening on the field, and you zone in — and it’s a great way for me to just forget about anything that I have going on in my life and really get all of my emotions out. Dancers say that [dance] is the way that they express their feelings; soccer is the way that I do it.

How’s the season shaping up so far?

LS: We’re a very young team…We didn’t really know what skill levels we were getting, but we’re coming in at a higher level than we’ve ever been before. Usually for the first two weeks or so, we’re working on basic passing and receiving — little technical things just to get a basis. [But we’ve] skipped past all that this year because everyone already knew how to do that. We got to start from a more advanced spot, which for us is really exciting, because it means that we have more time to really get game ready. Also, for the younger players it’s just about getting experience at a high school level and in a high school setting.

CM: And just getting comfortable with each other.

Are there any major goals that you have this season?

LS: Our goal is always to win league, always to make it to CIF [California Interscholastic Federation] playoffs — and there’s always a goal to win a championship. Here at Archer, we’ve never won a CIF championship, so it’d be a huge deal to win one, and also it would be awesome.But, you know, those are some of the more obvious goals. I definitely learned from the captains ahead of me that a personal goal is to leave a legacy behind that allows the soccer program to build after I leave. I’ve learned a lot from everyone I’ve played with throughout my time here, and I would like to think that other people have learned a lot from me.

CM: I still have another year, so I have time, but looking at the way that Liadan and Rachel lead and act as seniors, I want to take that into account next year especially…Also, hopefully this year we can crush Pacifica [Christian High School] and [win league]…I want to get as far as we can in CIFs. We haven’t been able to get past the first round for the past two years.

What has your experience in Archer soccer throughout the years been like?

LS: All three captains this year [are] three-sport varsity athletes at Archer, and we all play club. In the fall and spring seasons, we’re doing a sport directly after school and then later on that night we’re going to soccer practice. It’s very time consuming, so it’s during this time period that I really get to focus on soccer. I feel like this [time] is really what reminds me what I love about soccer… For me, as someone who’s been playing for a long time, I love that my role over time has become somebody who’s able to mentor those other players who are coming in at different skill levels. That’s something that I like, in terms of a transition from ninth to 12th grade — that ability to lead and mentor the younger players. I think that’s really a really good experience for me. With me and Rachel being the only two seniors, we’ve been waiting for this chance to be [leaders] for a long time, so it’s kind of awesome that now our time is here. It’s also kind of scary, because now we have so many expectations of what the season is gonna be like…We have high expectations and we’re really excited, but that comes with a lot of nerves as well.

CM: Coming to Archer freshmen year, I really took in what the seniors did. [The captains] were [Yasmeen Namazie ’15] and Hillary [O’Connor ’15]… So, seeing how they’ve interacted with me, now that I’m an upperclassman, I have the ability to do this with the younger girls. It’s really exciting to me to see them improve, because I look at the sophomores now, and I think back to when they were freshmen, and some of them have improved so much. It’s so amazing to see that. It makes me feel really proud.