Lakewood High Girls' Soccer: You Are Known By The Company You Keep

If you look up those words, there will be a version in almost every culture: English Proverb. Japanese Proverb. Presidents. Statesmen. Clergy. The Lakewood Girls High School Soccer Team is pretty darn good company. With a 3.85 TEAM GPA, the Lakewood Girls' Soccer Team led all Fall sports in 2019 for Team GPA. The three Senior Captains for 2019 were all in the National Honor Society, including the Lakewood NHS President, Emma Hirsch. The three Senior Captains from this 2020 team are also members and Aubree Nagel is the current Lakewood NHS President. She is also the current Lakewood Class President for 2020. But the statistic I am most proud of (as coach) is that team GPA. I don't take any credit for it, but this is an amazing group of young women.

Some who read the LO regularly may remember that I wrote a similar article recently and wonder why I am coming back to re-iterate these points. My main concern as the high school coach as I look at the community is that we have very few girls in our Lakewood Girls Soccer feeder programs right now. Lakewood has two long-time, quality soccer programs in the Lakewood Soccer Association (LSA) and the Lakewood United Football Club (LUFC). Each organization fills a role for soccer development in an adolescent's life. When I moved to Lakewood about 10 years ago. we had over 20 travel/ club teams in girls soccer. We are down to 4 teams this fall, with entire year groups unrepresented. As a high school coach, I look to have anywhere from 6-14 freshmen girls come into the program each season. That usually means the U14/15 cohort has about one-half to two-thirds of the travel team try out for the High School team. An example is that the travel team that moved up this season had about 20 eighth-graders on it. I had about 14 sign up to tryout. About 8 showed up and about 6 stuck with it. All of this happened in the COVID-19 atmosphere, so those numbers are off and I'm hoping some of the girls who considered it, but did not stay with it will come back.

Back to the usual route into community soccer. Most kids start playing recreational soccer at anywhere from 6-9 years old for their first time. To do this in Lakewood, one would sign up with the Lakewood Soccer Association ( and play what is known as "Saturday Soccer." As the name implies, the games are Saturday mornings down in the MetroParks. The games are coed, geared for fun and introduce players to the game. Kids can play at this level from 6 -14 or 8th grade. The next step for kids who love the game and want a bigger challenge is to play for your Community Travel Team. This option is supplied through the Lakewood Recreation Department via LUFC ( Players at this level generally start between 7 and 8 and play again until 8th grade. These teams represent Lakewood in the Ohio Travel Soccer League. Within this league, there are usually at least four different levels that teams play on. At younger ages, there are often two teams in each age group as the teams play 7v7 and there are more kids than a single roster can handle. These teams usually combine at an older age in order to play 9v9 and 11v11. For players who really excel in travel, the next level is Club Soccer and that is a whole different article. (Feel free to contact me to discuss.) So that is community soccer in a nutshell. This fall, Saturday Soccer was cancelled do to COVID. Travel soccer had a late start and is currently playing.

There are rival schools who cannot currently field a JV team and that does not bode well for the future of those programs. I'm hoping that we never get to that point. The way that we don't get to that point is for kids to get out and learn to love the game! The current senior class at Lakewood was my first travel team here as coach. That team fielded all three senior captains at Lakewood as well as two of the senior captains at St. Joseph's Academy. These girls are learning teamwork, leadership and friendship as well as the highs of victory and the lows of a tough loss. In other words, they are learning life skills to take with them and they are making life-long friends to cherish. I really hope that young families consider joining the Lakewood Soccer community. It is a great way to make new friends both for kids and parents. It's a great way to get involved for both kids and parents. And it is a great way to surround your children with some of the best and brightest at the high school. Our team is currently 6-2 and 4-2 in Conference. We are hoping to make a better showing in the playoffs this year and do Lakewood proud. So why don't you join up and ...Go Rangers!

Ted Nagel

Ted Nagel is the Lakewood High School Girls Varsity Soccer Coach.

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Volume 16, Issue 19, Posted 6:07 AM, 10.08.2020