Follow the leaders: Eighth graders lead and middle school green soccer team to playoffs


Photo credit: Archer Athletics

The middle school green soccer team poses for a photo after a game against The Brentwood School’s blue soccer team. Archer lost this game 3-4. “It’s great because everyone is so nice to each other” team member Edie Wyles (’27) said. “In the beginning of the game it doesn’t really matter because at the end, we all just tried our best.”

By Oona Seppala, Senior Reporter

With older age comes greater responsibility, and the middle school green soccer team is no exception. This season, the eighth grader players took on new leadership roles and led their team to playoffs.

The middle school green soccer team finished their season Jan. 30 with a record of 2-3. After tying in regular time 3-3, the team lost in the first round of playoffs to Windward in a penalty shoot out.

“Our last game before break was one of our best, even though we lost,” Eighth grader, Edie Wyles said. “Everyone was working the hardest they could by putting in all the energy they had and using all of the strategies that we learned.”

The team was made up of 16 girls from grades six to eight. In November, 32 girls tried out for middle school soccer and were rostered on either the middle school purple team or the middle school green team

As returning players, Wyles and the other eighth graders were leaders for the team. Wyles said they tried their best to utilize their soccer knowledge and pass down their game strategies, skills and growth mindset to the new players.

“I definitely feel like they guide our team,” sixth grader Riley Keston said. “They are like tiny coaches.” 

From the rules of the game and strategies to earn victories, the eighth grade leaders guided their peers on and off the field. Wyles said regardless of whether they won or lost, they cared most about putting all their effort into each game. 

“The eighth graders are so encouraging and supportive, and they always advise us to the best of their abilities,” seventh grader Farah Sandoval said. “They are always cheering the loudest.”

Coach Jamshidi opened up leadership roles on the team for girls to experience what it means to be a leader. Roles included anything from being the captain one game to leading practice and drills. The leaders of the team had 1-2 more years of experience playing on the team than the others allowing them to guide their younger teammates.

“I’m starting to really notice that there is an uptick in [leadership] and leading by example” Jamshidi said, “So it’s been really, really cool to see, and [the eighth-graders] are especially great when working with the younger sixth and seventh graders”.

Though the players have a two to three year age difference, the eight graders fostered a connection between the different grades, Keston said. The more experienced players helped the younger girls on the team by giving them feedback and cheering them on from the sidelines.

“[The eight-graders] are just trying to support other players as best we can,” Wyles said. “If someone needs help with something or was doing something wrong, we try our best to help them and and use constructive criticism” 

The team attributed their success throughout the season to the connection they had built with one another. Sandoval said the team communicated on the field and stayed focused in practice, and the older girls were always trying to create a fun team atmosphere where everyone is welcome.

“We like to play music, and we have a bunch of inside jokes,” Sandoval said. “We all talk to each other all the time. There is never a quiet practice because we’re always talking about something.” 

The team entered playoffs as the number three seed, ranked just behind Brentwood School and Windward. Before their season came to an end, the team had set goals for playoffs.

“I think our goal is to get into the later rounds of playoffs and win a game because it would just be great to represent the school,” Wyles said prior to the playoff game. “We just want everyone to keep working as hard as they can.”