Muskie girls’ soccer tryouts off and running

“Ooh, that’s going to leave a bruise,” Caroline Spencer said while rubbing the back of her knee.
Fifteen minutes earlier, Spencer had a soccer ball shot at that area of her leg by a student trying out for the Muskie girls’ soccer team.
And the look the player showed after she had mistakenly hit the head coach suggested she thought Spencer would send into the locker-room and off the team.
But, of course, Spencer never acted like that. Instead, she garnered a smile and remarked, “I’ve been hit harder than that before.”
So the incident’s ending was a laughable one, but it just goes to show you how anxious the players are trying out for the team.
They are being watched. Every move made. Every word spoken. Every gesture given is being observed by the coaching staff comprised of Spencer, Char Bliss, Tammy McLean, and Marla Simpson.
“I told them that they’re all working for their jobs. All of them,” said Spencer, in her first year as head coach of the team after taking over for long-time coach Struchan Gilson.
“No one is secure in any job and if they’re prepared to put the work in now and through the whole season, then they won’t be in that position,” she added.
Tryouts started right after March Break, with the first two weeks consisting strictly of running to see where the players’ fitness levels were at. But now the 34 girls vying for the roughly 20 roster spots are out on the field and showing their “futbol” abilities.
“We’ve only been on the field this week,” Spencer noted last week. “We were running the first two weeks.
“I won’t make cuts prior to them at least getting on the field because some kids may not be the strongest long distance runners, but you put them on the field and then they have the stamina . . . because it’s two different things,” she added.
And decision Spencer makes on either keeping or cutting a player will be a well-informed one—given she’ll have the backing of her assistant coaches.
“I told them right off the top that I’m not going to make any cuts until we get them [the players] on the field, and we’re coaching this as a team, and the four of us are going to make the decisions together,” she stressed.
“I’m going to see things they’re not going to see and they’re going to see things I’m not going to see,” she reasoned. “We all bring different things to the table and we’ve got to take advantage of that.
“You’d be stupid not too, right?”
Still, Spencer is left with the unenviable task of informing those players, which haven’t been quite up to par, that they will not be wearing the black-and-gold jersey this season.
“It’s horribly difficult,” she remarked. “It’s probably the one part of the season that I dread the most, and I haven’t had to do it until this year because Mr. Gilson has always been the one to take that responsibility and I’ve quite happily advocated that to him.
“But it’s my job this year.
“We’re going to make these decisions amongst the coaches, but I’ll be the one that has to say the words,” she concluded.
Now that definitely will leave a bruise.

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