There are rare moments in life when we get to stand, side by side, with someone who has been a fundamental component to our ability to achieve our dreams. This Fall, members of the Barnstable High School girl’s soccer team were given this opportunity.
The Cape Cod Cooperative Bank reached out to the high school team to ask if they would be interested in helping coach this year’s clinic offered by Kristine Lilly.
For those who don’t know, Lilly is a former professional soccer player and member of the Women’s National Team. She is a pioneer in the women’s game, as she helped to establish its legitimacy and power within the United States. Due to her incredible talent and unparalleled work ethic, she has set a foundation for girls to be able to pursue the dream of playing in a professional setting.
When the possibility of this opportunity was mentioned to the Barnstable Girl’s program, there was a unanimous feeling of elation. Not only did many of the girls consider Lilly an idol, but some of them had even once attended her clinic as participants themselves.
The ability to coach alongside her was something they couldn’t believe was a possibility. Many of the girls, in conjunction with our program’s community service component, volunteer to coach children from the ages of 3- 10 every Saturday morning throughout their Fall season.
Due to this, many feel very comfortable running sessions and enabling young players to both learn and feel engaged. The coaching part of the day was not what caused some butterflies, it was the question and answer session with Lilly beforehand. For about 30 minutes, standing in a circle, shoulder to shoulder, the girls asked Lilly truly deep and meaningful questions.
They inquired what it was like to play in so many different avenues, how it felt to be a female pioneer in the game, what challenges she faced and how she overcame them, and what advice she had for them as players as well. Each and every response given was well thought out, articulate, and full of genuine truth and compassion. It was immediately evident that beyond being one of the greatest female players of all time, she is innately a coach and mentor at heart.
The clinic itself ran more smoothly than any of us could have hoped for. Kristine first lead a warm up with all of the participants. She then organized stations and explained job roles to the girls.
Once groups were set, she trusted the girls to run each station. With high energy, positive encouragement, and a desire to spread their knowledge about the game, the girls went to work. At the conclusion of the event, parents, members of the bank, and Kristine herself gave thanks and praise to the girls.
To see teenagers give up their time on a Sunday to volunteer is quite moving. Even more so is seeing teenagers share an authentic desire to help youth within their community. As a thank you from the Cape Cod Cooperative Bank, they gave a monetary donation to UKSD, in the name of the BHS Girl’s soccer team, as it is an organization many of them participate in. Because of their hard work, they will be able to help fund free of charge soccer and allow others to share in a game they all love.
Although we can speak to the power and impact of being able to participate in a program such as this, no one can express it better than the girls themselves.
The following is an account from one of the players who found this event to be life changing and something she will remember for years to come. “My first memory of Kristine Lilly was her header goal in 1995 the World Cup game against Denmark. The night before a game I like to watch videos of goals being scored to get me in the right mindset for the next day. I played that video over and over again, I loved how she took control and stepped up to the ball.
I spent hours watching clips of US National Teams, breaking down barriers and doing amazing skills. I covered the walls of my bedroom with poster, magazine cutouts, and newspaper headlines in order to feel closer to me heros. My favorite poster from my wall is from the 1999 Women’s World Cup, it’s the US Team wearing their gold medals with red and white confetti falling all around them.
I look at this everyday and it reminds me that reaching my goals is possible if I put in the work. Today, I am playing high school soccer at Barnstable High School. The culture and community here is unbelievable, my team has become my family who will do anything to help each other. My coaches,
Doc and Fligg are undoubtedly the most committed and dedicated people. This is my first year on the team and I have already learned so much, not just about soccer, but how to be a better member of the community. The focus of the Girls Soccer Program at Barnstable High School is center on character, community, competition, and continuation.
My coaches have instill these values into us and the result has been not only life changing for me, but in the lives of so many others. The program involves us in many community service opportunities that provide people across the globe with desperately needed items and an escape from the world they are surrounded by. Every Saturday the team helps to run a soccer clinic for younger children and this has helped me to see that I can inspire others just like the women on my walls.
I was recently given the opportunity to volunteer to run a clinic with one of my hero’s, Kristine Lilly. I remember Doc telling the team about the clinic on the way to a Boston University game, another amazing experience provided through the program, I was instantly excited about meeting someone whom I had idolize. The clinic was unreal, it enabled me to meet someone who had inspired to reach my goals.
Kristine was very interactive, she answered all of our questions and her answers were reflected of her outstanding time as a professional player. She gave us some very good advice in not almost every aspect of the game, from footwork techniques to helping with homesickness. After the clinic was finished, I got the opportunity to meet and talk with Kristine Lilly.
I was a little jumpy and nervous because I was meeting my hero! Overall, this was an amazing experience that has taught me so much. I am already looking forward to next year’s clinic and I hope to have help inspire other young girls to pursue their soccer goals.”
Abby Ewald - Grade 9 - BHS
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