ILWACO — Seventeen players have turned out for Ilwaco’s inaugural high school girls’ soccer season, coached by Andrew Goodwin. The team doesn’t start out as exceptionally young, with just three freshmen. Most of the roster consists of sophomores and juniors, which allows Goodwin to focus this year on building for the future.
The soft first-year schedule fits with that idea. Ilwaco’s decision to field a soccer team came too late for them to play this year in the Central League, and the Pacific League doesn’t have girls’ soccer. Instead, the school put together a slate of short trips and underwhelming opponents that should allow the program to ease into its existence. Two games, including the opener, are against a fellow expansion team, South Bend. Seven of the 12 games are against junior varsity squads, mostly of slightly bigger schools like Montesano and Seaside. Ilwaco plays twice against a 1A Castle Rock squad that was outscored 54-7 last year, and once against Astoria’s varsity team. Next year, the team will be able to compete for the playoffs in the Central League.
Goodwin plans to run a 4-4-2 system (four defenders, four midfielders, two forwards. The system “allows you to have strong control of the backfield and midfield, and get your forwards opportunities with quick strikes,” Goodwin said.
Erika Glenn, a very smooth athlete who figures to be a natural scorer, is a key recruit. Goodwin plans to play her at either forward or as an offensive midfielder in the 4-4-2 system he plans to run. Elle Personius will likely play forward. Faith Richardson and Katherine Johnson both have goalkeeping experience, and so are the candidates for that job. Goodwin says Sunny Kemmer and Olivia Long have shown good ball control skills in practice, making them candidates for the midfield or backfield.
Players say they haven’t talked or focused much on the fact that they are starting something new at the school; the team jumped right in and started practicing like any other team. Most of the players aren’t new to soccer. Goodwin estimates that two-thirds have played before in youth leagues, many from very young ages.