By Ezra Gennello, staff writer.
Success is something many people look for, but only a few achieve. Led by head coach Jonathan Garbar and his staff, the Franklin Pierce University women’s soccer team found success last year by winning their league-leading eighth Northeast-10 Conference title and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Soccer Championship. If you ask the team, they’ve already started to find success this year.
According to the team’s captains, their success isn’t defined by how many wins or championships they have at the end of the year, but instead by how much they grow on and off of the field. Senior forward Sophie Cousineau said, “The expectations are always high, but we never talk about winning… It’s always just been about growing as a program.”
Cousineau was joined by fellow captain and senior back Kiley Vermette, who added, “We set more of an emphasis on the intangible things, like progressing every single day and stretching the standard that we set every day, as opposed to how many games we want to win.”
As for how successful they have been this year, coach Garbar would say they’ve done a pretty good job. When asked about all of the new faces on the roster this year Garbar responded, “Their attitudes have been very positive. They’ve been very open-minded, humble, and are allowing the coaching staff to coach them.”
Adding to the goal of growing the program, the only word said more by the team than ‘growth’ was ‘family’. A big part of the team’s identity is how comfortable they feel around both each other and their coaches. Senior Veronica Marques provided the insight of an international athlete who has found a home in Rindge. “I could call him [Garbar] my dad, or even like my close family… He makes sure that we feel at home, safe, and he cares a lot about us,” Marques said.
Vermette, who grew up just under two hours away, added, “We all really look up to him and respect him, and even if our schedule is really crazy, we always know it’s coming from someone who truly cares about us.”
The returners aren’t the only ones who consider their team a family away from home. Freshman Camille Sahirul spoke about how the players’ relationships translate to the field. “As our relationships and connections grow from player to player, we continue to build more chemistry with one another on the field and play for each other, rather than individually,” said Sahirul. “The goal for the end of the season is to be our best selves.”
Sahirul was joined by fellow freshmen Marissa Gordon when talking about how close the team has become. “Every player, whether they are new or returning, has a place on this team,” said Gordon. “There is always coaching staff or teammates available to talk to if there is something on our mind.”
Though the Ravens are off to a slower start than a year ago, the team’s players and coaches continue to point to those ideals of growth and family as the building blocks of a successful program. They know continuing to pursue the goal of growing together as a team and connecting as a family will ultimately allow them to find success both on and off the field.
Left-to-right: Sophie Cousineau, Kiley Vermette, Veronica Marques (photo credit: Trevor Guay).