Taft High, behind team captains Kadence James and Claira Tolan, won the first junior varsity girls soccer game played in school history Wednesday, defeating host Amity, 2-0.
Sophomore Olivia Coulter scored a goal and James had two assists in the victory as Taft expanded its girls soccer program due to growing participation numbers this season.
Taft varsity coach Joey Arce-Torres reacts to new JV program:
“At the previous Booster breakfast, I was able to thank the appropriate people for making this happen. Adding another athletic program to an already full fall schedule takes a lot of finesse and behind-the-scenes maneuvering.
“It takes money, it takes dedication and the commitment to see it through from idea to match. Taft is fortunate to have a great AD [Matt Hilgers]; a district employee [Majalise Tolan] who cares about growth; and coaches who put kids first and last but not least; and a booster program that gives and gives.
“Having a JV program has been my No. 1 goal since my second year of coaching. This will launch our program from simply competing to one that will build a winning culture. It will give our girls practical experience and the ability to learn from time on the pitch rather than learning from the bench.
“I am thrilled by how well the kids transitioned into these new roles. We will continue to warm up together, go through our stretches and communication together and break off for one hour with their respective groups.
“[Coaches] Kate Quinn and Josh Vrendenburg have done a superior job in growing our program and keeping things positive and interesting. We again could not have had this happen without them.
“We all have one goal at Taft: leave your position and your school a little bit better than when you arrived. I hope people will say that whenever I decide to stop coaching.
“At 6 p.m., I contacted my JV coach to ask how things were going, she responded that they had won. After that, I contacted a couple kids via their cell phones to congratulate them and they were screaming with excitement to fill me in. I haven’t had too many days at Taft that rivaled those precious moments that I had with them on the phone. It was a good day.”