Luis Lujan has been coaching Wilcox soccer in various roles since 2006. After years of coaching junior varsity, he now takes over as Head Coach of the girl’s varsity team. His players are definitely excited to see the team take another step forward with their new leader.
“He’s definitely stepped up the intensity [at practices],” commented four-year varsity senior Paige Jones. “It has been really, really good for this team. It’s definitely beneficial.”
Now with Luis, a new face, girls are going to react differently since it’s someone new, ” shared senior Darcie Massey
Coach Lujan’s emphasis has been on each practice being an opportunity to get better as a team and to improve as individuals. Last season the Wilcox varsity squad started out strong, only to fall flat in the second half. Lujan wants to see consistent performance day in and day out for his squad.
“My overall philosophy, the way I see the game as a coach, is to hold these players accountable to the highest standards and all of that starts on the first day of tryouts,” commented coach Lujan. “The first day I told our students we start winning games today. With every sprint, with every lap, with every sit-up, as the days go on we pick up the pace, we make one more lap, one more sit-up, one more sprint, everything has to be done in the name of progress. We hold these players to the highest standards. I tell them everyday that you are first students, you must perform in the classroom, second you are an athlete and perform on the field.”
Jones and Massey definitely appreciate their new coach’s ability to hold the players accountable. The squad’s two seniors both noted that during their freshman and sophomore years it was “pretty much a given” to finish in last place in their division with only one or two wins. This year, they seem much more optimistic.
“Even though this is our last year here, we know the future for Wilcox soccer, for the girls [team] is in [good hands],” confirmed Jones. “The next four years [the development] is going to be really good compared to previous years where we have had some team struggles.”
The girls got their first taste of game action with a scrimmage against the Pinewood Panthers on Wednesday Nov. 16. Earlier in the month, some of the Chargers players got to see the United States women’s national team play at Avaya stadium in San Jose. While neither Massey nor Jones attended, they both talked about how cool it was when the US men’s national team formed a unity wall with the Mexican national team before their recent friendly in Columbus.
“It’s pretty awesome to show the unity of the sport,” chimed Jones about the unity wall. “Yes it is a competition, but realistically we’re all here to play the same game. We’re all trying to become better at the same thing.”
“We’re all here, we want to win, it’s a competition, but at the end of the day everyone wants to have fun,” added Massey. “We all want to grow as a teammate, as a leader, so having everyone together [in that wall] really shows what we’re here for.”
“I think it was a political statement from both national teams” responded coach Lujan. “We are neighbors and we always have been. I think both neighboring countries realize that yes there is a battle to be played on the field, however, there is unity between the nations. I think it’s a political statement saying ‘do not pay attention to what individuals may say; we’re going to create a separation. Whether it is in the form of barriers or something physical. That wall, standing in unity with one another shows that it doesn’t matter how big something is when you have a bond between neighbors. It goes deeper than that and it’s unbreakable.”
Wilcox begins their preseason schedule on Tuesday Nov. 22nd against James Lick. They will follow that up with some tournament games before their first league game in early January.