Lessons Learned on the Soccer Field

Max M.
I have always enjoyed playing soccer. I think it’s a good way to let off steam, exercise, get competitive, focus, and build friendships between opponents, teammates, and coaches. I’ve played on and off since I was young, around five to be exact. But I only began to invest serious time into soccer once I enrolled into the class of 2012 at JCHS.
When I received my acceptance letter from the school, I thought of two things immediately:. What would my academic career look like? And, what would become of my extracurricular life? I found one answer in the Wolves' soccer program.

The year was 2008. I came to school two weeks before the academic calendar started, so everyone’s summer was beginning to wind down; simultaneously, school preparations began to slowly churn. I walked into a classroom where I met other students from all four grades excited to play the game. Once coaches, Coach Carter and Coach Pollock, came in, they introduced themselves and discussed basic strategy, mentality, and fundamentals of the JCHS soccer program. “Triangles”, “Communication”, and “Dedication”, I heard them say over and over again. Then we walked over to the field, and the 2008-2009 preseason started.

Fast forward 3 1/2 years. I am a senior now. And my comrades from freshmen year have stuck with the program, as I have, and we even picked up some new senior men. The team has stayed at the relative same size - approximately 20 guys with a travel roster of 16. I play offensive center midfielder, and occasionally forward; I was also voted co-captain of the team (alongside Senior Arno R., goalie). This season, I have witnessed and participated in the exponential growth of the team. The team came together and continued to bond during and after each game/practice; social and grade barriers began to lay rest. We finished the season with the best record the school has seen; 9-5-1 overall, 8-4-1 in league, and ranked 109th in the state (MaxPreps.com). I should also mention that we were one win away from making PSAL playoffs.

Our season came to a close under the lights at Crocker Amazon field in San Francisco, against our historical rivals, Kehillah. A lot of fans came out to suppert us. After 80 minutes, we came away with a win (8-0). I must write, it was a rewarding, nostalgic, and enjoyable match.

I don’t want to come off as a salesman advertising the soccer program at my school, but this is the truth. Here are a few of the benefits of playing on the team: A) One learns to manage time more efficiently (training, practice, and games take up a considerable amount of time). B) One can bond with student athletes and coaches/teachers before the academic year starts, which calls for a smoother transition into the rigorous academic life. C) It keeps you in top physical condition, and encourages healthy lifestyle habits. D) It teaches one how to work as a cohesive unit; to be a part of something bigger than one’s self. E) One gets to travel around the Bay Area competing against respected teams. F) Pump up sessions, practices, and games are simply awesome (for lack of a better word).

At our first pre-season meeting this year, we met in a classroom (just like my freshman year), and wrote goals for the season on the whiteboard. I am proud to say we achieved almost all of these goals. Some of the goals were stretches, but then again, how can one learn and grow if s/he doesn’t push his/her limits? Coach Pollock used to say, when your thighs, calves, and heart hurt the most . . . when you want to give up - that’s when you know you are truly growing. There is always room for improvement. I wish the best of luck to the players of the 2012-2013 season. I will forever cherish the memories and experiences I have acquired from the JCHS Varsity Soccer program. Thank you to my teammates and coaches. You made it all worth it.
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
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The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.