GVS and BVS emphasize team bonding


For both girls varsity soccer and boys varsity soccer, being connected off of the soccer field has played a large role in their successes on the field.

Off a cross, captain and senior Hope Leschly heads the ball into the back of the net and scores the game-winning goal. She runs to embrace her teammates, whom she considers family, and hears an eruption of cheers from the bench.

For both girls varsity soccer (GVS) and boys varsity soccer (BVS), becoming connected off of the soccer field has been a vital component of their successes on the field. Due to many COVID-19 restrictions last year, both teams are putting extra emphasis on rebuilding their sense of community.

According to Leschly, GVS began their season with a bonding trip to New Hampshire, which included a variety of team building activities. Leschly said this early connectivity has continued as the team pursues more team activities.

Captain of BVS, senior Evan Guttell said he values the casual get-togethers made difficult last year due to COVID-19, whether it be a quick team lunch after practice or a team video game tournament.

“This year, we have been able to have team dinners here and there and in the summer after practice we would get lunch,” Guttell said. “We have been able to spend a lot more time together off the field than last year.”

Guttell said the sense of community they have built has allowed the team to rebound during games.

“Sometimes, in the heat of the game, if the other team scored on us, or if the game isn’t going too well, it’s easy to turn on each other if you’re not close with your teammates. I think it’s really helpful to have that close bond,” Guttell said.

BVS coach Kyle Beaulieu-Jones said he appreciates team bonding because it creates a strong support system for all team members.

“Bonding definitely translates to the field. You want to win for your teammates, and it creates an idea of a team and family that you really want to support,” Beaulieu-Jones said. “You really want to do it for your whole team.”

Bealieu-Jones also said it is most valuable when the team creates and facilitates their own bonding activities, as opposed to what the team calls ‘forced family fun’, where the coaches facilitate it.

“The best opportunities are when, after practice, they just say, ‘Who’s going to get breakfast?’ Those organic opportunities that they create on their own are the best ways to really do it. We try to really just guide them and let them take control of it,” Beaulieu-Jones said.

According to Leschly, a large part of her role as captain is carrying on team traditions built by past team members. One tradition is called ‘The Web of GVS,’ in which the girls stand in a circle and compliment each other as a string is thrown around. Each team member then cuts a piece of the string and makes an anklet with it, representing the idea that the community of GVS will always be a part of them.

Both Leschly and Guttell said being at practice with their teams each day continues to play a large role in developing a sense of community, though certainly supplemented by outside activities.

Guttell said the practice environment allows the team to bond over their love for the sport.

“We know each other really, really well,” Guttell said. “Obviously, we love to play soccer, so it’s really nice to be together while doing it.”