Park City girls soccer seniors have helped change the culture on and off the field
When Park City High School girls soccer coach Micaela Carriel took over the Miners program three years ago, her immediate goal was to implement a culture change that would empower young women.
She wanted to create a culture where it meant something to be part of the girls soccer program, where the players were known as good people inside and out of the classroom and had a voice for themselves.
“I’m a firm believer that athletics is an opportunity to show different aspects of someone’s life, and this program shows you’re a young woman who should be an advocate for yourself,” Carriel said. “I’m about teaching the girls in my program how to step up and have a voice, but do so in a respectful way. They not only stand up for themselves, but they learn the responsibility of standing up for those who don’t have a voice as well.”
In order to implement this culture change, though, Carriel knew it was going to take time. But three years into her regime, for the first time, Carriel has really seen this change take place.
And she owes it all to her eight seniors.
“This group of seniors are very unique as they’ve been part of my program for the longest so they understand that expectations and responsibilities that come with being a part of it,” Carriel said. “This group is very special and have really taken it to heart. They hold themselves to the standard set, but they do so in practice, the game, the bus, the classroom and outside in life.”
In the Park City soccer program, helping to develop these girls into young women is significantly more important than the win-loss column. Carriel admits that while the goal is to always win and win a state championship, there’s only one team at the end of the season that does that.
Her seniors have embraced the ability to distinguish the difference between not being the best that day and accepting the result. Their understanding of that difference has trickled down to the younger players, ultimately having a positive affect on the program.
“If the answers to the tough questions that if we prepared out best and played our best, then yes we can live with the results,” Carriel said. “It’s about the growth that takes hold during the process. … And that’s the biggest thing these seniors have not only taken away but implemented within their lives.”
For Carriel, she openly admits that she’s very demanding on her program, saying that it’s not only difficult to make, but also difficult to stay. Regardless of how hard the program may be, Carriel knows she’s tougher on and expects more of her seniors.
She expects her seniors to be the flag-bearers for her program, showing the underclassmen what it means to be a senior. Carriel expects the seniors to help out in the community on their own time, be there to help support the younger players in the program and pass on the lessons learned to make sure the following senior class is better.
“I think some level of leadership is within every person, and although it might look different in some, what I love about these girls is that most of them had no idea it was inside of them to lead,” Carriel said. “They have found their voice and I’m most impressed with how they have decided to use it. … From encouraging someone younger to helping someone at a grocery store, that personal growth is the most beautiful part of this class.”
With senior night having taken place on Tuesday, Carriel was able to reflect on not only this past season, but the past three years with this group of players. She’s seen them grow from girls with no self-confidence to young women using their voice to empower themselves and others.
Carriel believes this is the group that has set the bar for the classes still to come, and it’s something they should proud of.
“These seniors have risen to the occasion time and time again,” Carriel said. “When they’ve been challenged and pushed on something, they’ve continued to thrive past their own expectations. They’re not setting limits on themselves and that personal growth to becoming the young women they are, that’s something that will forever mean more than the win-loss column.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.