Girls Play Soccer With Boys at FSS

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The Friends Select boys’ and girls’ soccer teams will merge this fall due to insufficient turnout for the girl’s roster.

A full soccer team requires at least sixteen players. Seventeen girls played soccer last year, and the graduation of six seniors left the team short of this precondition. 

Friends Select has chosen to merge the two teams because “[the girls] deserve a full team that can have a shot at success,” according to Athletic Director Bill Klose. Players Jessie Littman ‘21 and Maya Brand ‘21 reported that the girl’s soccer team was never the strongest in the league and are looking forward to the challenge of practicing with the boys’ team. 

The decision to combine the teams is not a surprise to the players considering that the Friends Select girls’ soccer program has been struggling for numbers for a while now. “I feel like everybody knew it was the end,” said Maya Brand. The girls’ team, which was not established until 2000, also failed to field teams in 2005 and 2011. In a constant struggle for numbers, the athletic department considered cutting the program in 2006, but ultimately chose to sustain the team.

Field hockey’s popularity at Friends Select has generated turnout for the girls’ soccer team. According to Bill, many other schools have mitigated this competition by eliminating one of the offerings. Only one other school with a similar size and location, Delaware County Christian School, has both field hockey and girls’ soccer. Abington Friends School and Academy of the New Church, two Friends League schools with populations similar to Friends Select, do not offer both sports.

Coach Barry Lynch is excited about this combination and is focusing on building a strong team and strong individuals, no matter their gender. “I think the chemistry of the team will only be enhanced,” he said. He says that the team is in a unique position with such a tight-knit community and this will only broaden and strengthen it. 

Jack Denham ‘21 agreed with Barry, saying that the combination feels “natural,” as the girls and boys have practiced and scrimmaged alongside each other for years. 

Although some of the girls are disappointed that there won’t be a girl’s team, they have felt welcomed by the boys’ team. “Barry treats me like any other member of the team,” says Maya.