Reporter, Esteban Reyes, sat down with Varsity girls soccer team members Skylar Debose and Kennedy Fletcher, to discuss their last season. This interview has been edited for clarity as a reader.

1. Wrapping up the preseason and starting league games the wins started to pile up, with big goal differences, what do you think contributes to that success?

Debose: I think a big factor that plays into it, was the competition we had in our preseason We played a lot of tough teams, a lot of tough teams that challenged us and improved our team chemistry and, helped us figure out what works best for us and what doesn't work So I think, once we finally got into League, we were, confident with our playing, we all knew each other Well, we had good team chemistry And, yeah, so I think that our preseason and just the competition played a huge role. 

Fletcher: I think our team chemistry, especially at the beginning of the season. We all bonded immediately in the preseason, so when we got to games, it wasn't like a big shock to know how we played with each other. Also, we all have similar playing styles and we like to connect well. So in a way, it was easy to get along with each other.

2. Do you think that team chemistry played a role in your growth and overall team success? And what made that team chemistry stronger in and out of practice?

Debose: Yeah, I think team chemistry played a huge role in our success, every game day, we would have themes and we would have team lunch together, so we did a bunch of fun themes where we would all dress up as. That was a really good, team bonding experience outside of soccer, and then I think just also having practice every day, we would see each other five days a week, and just constantly spending that time together also really helped build the team chemistry. And, I think a big part of it was also the seniors we had, 13 seniors? I think usually with high school teams, the seniors have that seniority and they think they are better than everyone else, but the seniors this season were all nice to everyone and it just helped build more of a stronger team.

Fletcher: Well, a lot of us played either club together, or we're friends before ever coming into soccer season. So we already in a way had that team chemistry. We also worked hard together and we all talked and had fun. It wasn't super serious, but we were still competitive.

3. In regards to coaching and coaching style, was it different to past experiences of yours and how do you think that coaching developed or changed throughout the season?

Debose: Yeah, I think the coaching style with high school, in general, is just always different than Club. This is the second season I've had with my coach, Coach Laney and I think compared to my club coaches especially, she's a lot more laid back and lets us the players do more of the leading with practice and games. This is nice in a way because it gives, the team the opportunity to be leaders themselves. I think high school is different because it's such a bigger team where if you have any conflicts or problems, it's more of you approaching your coach and that was a big learning experience for me.

Fletcher: So in my club team, I usually play outside back or center back, but my coach this year for high school had me play in different positions. So that was a lot different because I hadn't played center mid in a while. So I had to relearn it but we all figured it out quickly. That's also why we had a lot of success.

4. What are some hardships that you had to face during the season, and how did you overcome these challenges?

Debose: I think a big thing that I struggled with was just playing time, there would be games, even multiple games in a row where I would get very few minutes of playing time, which was frustrating, it’s something I'm also not used to in the club, it's very rare for even anyone on the team to go without playing a good amount of minutes during a game. So I think that was different, but it was also definitely a big learning experience. It taught me how to communicate with my coaches more and not give up and push myself to be better.

Fletcher: I guess another thing was that I was dealing with lower back injuries throughout the season, but I just had to keep rehabbing it. So that was hard. And then as far as a team, I think one hardship was in preseason, we struggled a little at the very end with the Oregon City game. But that was kind of a shock to us because we went in late, you know, thinking that we were just gonna blow through that game, but that didn't happen. So after that, we worked to get better and that was good.

5. Were there any other hardships that you faced as a team? Do you feel more? 

Debose: Yeah, I think just going back to the preseason, there was a point in time where we played Oregon City and then Lake’O, and after that Jesuit. So yeah, I think that was kind of just a slap in the face in a way, definitely a rough patch Because after those games, even though it was a big learning lesson, and we didn't have much time to implement those lessons into our game so that was pretty tough.

Fletcher: In training, probably playing with upperclassmen. They were competitive and physical, which helped me obviously kind of get to that level. I also think everyone brought a new experience, especially Riley, she was my other center mid and she played center mid you know her whole soccer career, so she helped me a lot. 

6. Amazing achievement, reaching the playoffs this year, how do you feel the mood shifted, going into the playoffs?

Debose: Yeah, I think throughout the season, we all had that mindset where we wanted to work for each other and play our best, and that was a constant throughout the whole season, but I think once we got to playoffs, we realized how much making it as far as we could be meant to the seniors. So the seniors worked their butts off and so did everyone else.

Fletcher: Yeah, so I think we knew that, we love all our seniors and we wanted them to keep playing with them the longest that they possibly could. So we all got serious. We started to play every game like it could be our last. 

7. So to wrap it up, heading into your senior season Skylar and your Junior season Kennedy, what are some goals that you have set for yourself to improve?

Debose: I think taking more of a leadership role is one of my biggest goals, and also just making sure that I replicate that same family team environment that the seniors this year created for the whole team.

Fletcher: So probably scoring more sometimes, this year I played like a holding mid and I didn't get into the pack that much. So maybe next year I'll play attacking. You know, I had a lot of good assists this year which is kind of like my strong point, but next year I want to get more action on the attacking side.

Interviewed by: Esteban Reyes