Girls show up for Southridge’s first-ever team


HUNTINGBURG — There’s a new girls team coming out of Huntingburg this season.

Southridge coach Brandon Aders made it known that the Raider soccer program wouldn’t be complete without a girls varsity team, and now he’s gathered the players to realize that goal, the first-ever such team in school history.

“I made the decision last year that if I was going to coach, we were going to build a program,” he said. “And to do that, I have to have a girls varsity team. It’s actually attracted more players [than the boys]. That team is going to be pretty big.”

Aders said he’s seen signs of talent, and pointed to senior Karla Alegria and sophomore Maritza Romero as two early standouts who bring travel soccer experience to the Raiders. But the coach is excited about all the girls who have come out for practice, and believes the building blocks for creating a team are present. The biggest coaching point he’s working on is teaching the girls how to play together. Most of the players’ soccer background involves playing backyard games with their siblings. So, he’s trying to teach them that being part of a team means they don’t have to do everything themselves.

“Individually, they have talent,” Aders said. “What no one’s taught them is to play together. That’ll be the focus. They’re just used to taking people one on one [like] their brothers. They’re not used to having the support of a whole team behind them. That’s what we’re working out.”

The Raiders are adopting a possession-based playing style for the fall. The goal is to control the ball until either Alegria or Romero can get free for shots on goal, but Aders is open to changing up the formula based on how the team progresses over the fall.

“We’re going to start with that and see where it goes,” he said. “But we might have to change that halfway through the year, depending on what’s going on.”

The biggest obstacle that comes with building a team from the ground up is proving they belong on the field with their competitors. Aders knows it’ll take time to build a team that can compete with the likes of Jasper, Washington and other established girls teams that have decades on the developing Raider program. But it’s all part of the process, and the Raiders can only move forward with the lessons they learn along the way.

“I told them it might be a rough year,” said Aders, whose team starts its season Aug. 17 at Corydon Central. “We’ve got to get this one under our belt. I’ve coached for a long time, so I can kind of tell where it’s going to go. Right now, it’s build and see where we can go from there.”

The main goal is using this first season to set the foundation. Aders isn’t so much concerned with wins and losses at this point. He instead wants his players to learn something from each game and get better at putting things together during the fall. And who knows, maybe this new bunch can surprise some people as they work to show they belong with the rest of the girls teams on the field.

“I say it doesn’t matter what the score is at the end of the game,” Aders said. “If you’ve learned something during the game, you’ve won. It’s something I always tell them. From there, the game will build itself.”

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