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Soccer Team Shake-Up

Just as the soccer season was coming to a close, tragedy struck. One of the varsity athletes contracted COVID-19, resulting in 16 of the 23 athletes being quarantined for two weeks. Because of this, the entire JV soccer team was temporarily pulled up, playing as the varsity soccer team until Thursday, October 8th. The JV athletes played three games, and tied 0-0 against Cedar Springs, lost 2-1 against Ottawa Hills, and won 1-0 against Wayland Union in the OK Gold Tournament. 

This was a major adjustment for not only the JV team, but also the six varsity athletes that were still eligible to play. “At first I was a bit upset as you can imagine, but then [I was] immediately optimistic because I knew that our JV [team] was really good this year…they’re doing a really good job.” said Sam Colburn (‘21). The roster change was not a difficult adjustment for Sam, due to his pre-existing relationships with many of the JV players. “[I was on JV last year], so I knew most of the guys on the team… and they already looked up to me because I was a captain last year.” 

Sam Colburn (’21) prepares to kick the ball away from his opponent

Many of the JV athletes, specifically the freshman class, found this situation to be exciting yet intimidating. “It was confusing at first, but once I got used to it, it’s [been] pretty fun,” says Noah McGraw (‘24). Noah, who was previously on the JV team, also mentioned that he’s using this sudden roster change as an opportunity to prove himself to varsity coach Scott Green. “I’m [able] to show [him] what I can do and hopefully [make myself] look good for next year.” 

Noah McGraw (’24) flicks the ball into the air

While many considered this to be a devastating turn of events, the soccer program is choosing to view it in a positive light. In an email sent out to both the varsity and JV parents last week, Coach Green expressed to parents that he thinks “…to raise a trophy at some point in the season with [all] the players knowing [that] the entire program had a stake in it would be an awesome experience for the boys.”

Coach Green gives goalie Parker Crane (’23) a hug after their win on Monday

Fortunately, the sudden quarantine did not affect FHE’s standing for the OK Gold Tournament as well as districts. Many of the athletes are hopeful about the team’s chances for districts this year, as the varsity team is considered to be ‘outstanding’ according to a number of JV and varsity parents. “…I think that we’re going to make it further than we have in the past in districts,” Sam said. Noah was also quite hopeful for districts this year. “I think [that] it’s going to be difficult, but I still think that [Eastern] has a chance at winning [this year].” McGraw said. This will not be the last time that a situation similar to this will occur here at Eastern, but the soccer team has managed to set a great example on how to manage it without skipping a beat.

Images courtesy of Kristen and Lindsey Soet.

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