Through the storm: Middle School soccer adapts to rain, remains undefeated


Photo credit: Archer Athletics

Sixth grader Haley Lazarus dribbles down the field at a home game against Brentwood. Archer won 2-1 against Brentwood, continuing their undefeated season. Photo by Archer Athletics.

By Olivia Hallinan-Gan, Staff Reporter

Despite the rain, the middle school purple soccer team has beat every team they’ve played so far with the exception of one tie.  

Middle school soccer has two different teams: the purple team and the green team. The purple team competes in a higher division, goes against teams with higher rankings and gets to compete more often, according to eighth grader Emmy Rapp. The team practices four days a week during the winter season.

The team started off the season defeating Crossroads at an away game Dec. 17. They then beat Brentwood School 2-1, St Paul the Apostle 2-0, tied with Windward School 2-2, beat Westside Neighborhood School 6-0 and beat Calvary Christian School 8-0. Their most recent game was Jan. 23 at Geffen Academy, which they won 3-0.

Rapp said the recent stormy weather has hindered their ability to play since they have to miss “valuable” outdoor practices. Southern Californian storms have caused intense rain, lightning and even flooding, affecting school sports. Rapp said that the team has done a great job adapting to the situation by instituting more indoor practices.

“The spirit is always really amazing,” eighth grader Sloane Fitzgibbon said. “You can always hear everyone screaming from the sidelines, and it’s always nice to hear when you score a goal or make a good pass. When everyone’s cheering you on, it really motivates you to play your absolute best.”

Rapp said that through the rain and cold, the team has persevered, continued to practice and remain guided by their team spirit.

“It’s been going really well. Our team works together amazingly, and we all have so much fun while we’re practicing in or outside,” said Rapp. “We have had inside practices where we work out in the training center. It’s so fun because we just have so many challenges, and we get to run on the treadmills and also get to do some passing drills inside. We do lots of weightlifting as well using the machines.”

The team’s first practice was on Nov. 28, but after winter break they moved inside. The team resumed outdoor practices Jan. 14. The team’s coach, Jamie Fink, has been assisting with indoor and outdoor training. Fink said, with the help of athletic trainer Kristen Stallone, the team has been working out indoors and touching the ball as much as possible.

“I was worried but they have such a collaborative team environment. They’re so supportive of one another and you can tell they truly play for each other.””

— Jamie Fink

“They’ve been working with Coach Stallone,” Fink said. “They’ve been doing a lot of conditioning and strength-training and they’ve been able to touch the ball a little bit inside the training center, which has been amazing. Coach Stallone has done wonders with them, and I’m so appreciative of her for taking the time to really work with them.”

Though the team has adapted to the rain, Fitzgibbon said it’s challenging to feel like a team and enjoy their practices as much as they do when playing on the field.

“It’s definitely been harder,” Fitzgibbon said. “Most of our practices have been in a tiny little room, and, though conditioning is good for us to do, it’s still not as fun as getting on the field. It’s hard to feel like you’re a real team.”

Fink said, initially, she was not sure how the team would work out with all of middle school participating but said it has helped aid the connection throughout grade levels.

“Oh my gosh — they’re doing so well, especially since it’s sixth, seventh and eighth,” Fink said. “I was worried, but they have such a collaborative team environment. They’re so supportive of one another, and you can tell they truly play for each other.”

The team made it to playoffs, which will begin Jan. 30. If they win, they will advance to the second round of playoffs Feb. 1 and then to the Pacific Basin League championships on Feb. 3. The team has no further games until playoffs.

“It’s so fun to have a home game and have their fellow classmates come out and support,” Fink said. “The parents and everybody here at Archer create that community and camaraderie. It’s definitely a different vibe when you’re at home because of that love that they feel and that support for our team. Archer does an amazing job bringing the spirit to every game.”