Lincoln girls now have higher expectations

September 15, 2003|JILL ERWIN

STANFORD - Erin Kelley has heard the comments about what other people think about the Lincoln County girls soccer.

The Patriots have never won more than four games in a season, has had three different head coaches in its first three years, and has an influx of new players almost ever year.

But this year may be the beginning of something new. Kelley is one of two seniors on the team, and coach Wiley Faw has returned for a second season.

Kelley said Faw is intent on separating Lincoln from the stereotypical comments.

"It will change," Kelley said. "He doesn't like the Lincoln County soccer stereotype. He hates it more than anything I've ever seen. 'Lincoln County soccer is never going to amount to anything.' That's exactly what everybody's saying. Coach Faw would never think that and he would never doubt us."


Faw's time with the team is limited. Because of his full-time job, he can only be with the team on weekends and for some games. He gets to most games at halftime, but gets help from fellow coaches Erin Shearer and John David Smith when he misses.

Faw said the mental game is the most important part of soccer, and he's aiming to change the way the Patriots think of themselves.

"If you think someone's going to beat you by 10 goals and you're expected to not score, then that's what you play to," Faw said. "With somebody giving them a higher expectation, that gives them something else to play to."

Kelley and junior Brittney House are the most experienced players on the Patriots' roster. Both have played since their freshman year.

"We've seen a lot of changes over the years," House said. "Of course, the coaches changed every year, so we weren't used to experience. Now we have a coach with experience. We're playing good, and this year is our best year yet."

They haven't all been good years. Lincoln went from an 0-16 campaign in 2001 to a 4-12 record last season. This year the Patriots are 1-3.

Faw laments the fact Lincoln has never had a feeder program, saying next year's freshmen will be the first group to have played soccer before getting to high school.

Kelley and House say that makes the progress slow early in the season.

"It's frustrating," Kelley said. "Early practices, it's like 'This is this position. We're going to learn positions today.' I'm like, 'Oh gosh, we could learn so many other things.'"

"You've got to start over because you're coming out with new players, even people that have never played," House said. "But we're getting better, and we're getting more basketball players out and they bring more aggressiveness."

The aggressiveness of the young players has made an impression on Kelley. She said seeing the energy the new players bring to the field inspires her.

"The one thing about new players is that they're not usually very scared," Kelley said. "Some of them are, but some of them are like 'Hey, there's the ball. I'm going to go get it and I'm going to kill whoever's got it.'"

Both girls said despite the uphill battle every season, quitting was never an option.

"We work together as a team and to give up on them would be so wrong," House said. "Even if we get more out and have to start over again every year, we're a team."

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