Starting the season off strong – Soccer

Anna Schwab, Managing Editor, Sports and Wellness

Coming back to a more typical season than last year, the girls’ varsity soccer team at Minnetonka High School is starting the 2021 season off strong with a record of 3-2-1. 

Kelsey Hans, the new coach of MHS’s girls team, is a large contributing factor to that success; she is enthusiastic about this season’s team and all of its players. 

“I’m excited to get to know the players in the program and to watch and get to know somebody as a 9th grader, [then] watch them grow and develop through their time with the program. I’m excited to work with the varsity team [and] to have a competitive team that’s competing to go to state every year,” she said.

Hans said the adjustment to a new team was “surprisingly easy” and credited the “really good senior leadership on the team” as the reason behind the easy transition. “There are just some really fun and outgoing personalities that helped [the] transition, [being] a new person to the community and family, go a lot easier.” 

Audi Nhouyanisvong, ‘23, and Juliet Carlson, ‘24, both in their first year playing on the varsity team, said the biggest difference between the school’s flagship team and other past teams they’ve played for “is the practice times, practice schedule, and game schedule.” 

Nhouyanisvong touched on how a typical week for their team involves “lifting three days a week, practicing four days a week, and games two times a week.” 

Carlson agreed, saying “it’s a lot busier and a lot more competitive, just a much higher level of soccer.” However, she added that “varsity [has] a much more tight-knit community than JV…everyone is just a lot closer.”

The girl’s soccer program at Minnetonka High School has a dedicated motto and mission. Together, they aim to have good team spirit, determination, leadership, and dedication, and they aspire to be unified to help everyone to succeed. They prepare everyday and always do their best. As a program, they strive to advance their players for college level play and make sure that, most importantly, the players enjoy playing the game. 

When Hans was asked what she hoped to bring to the program as the new head coach, her response was simple: “to bring a sense of fun, while also being a competitive team.” 

Hans also said that “being in high school and [playing] high school soccer is such a special time of [their] life and [she wants] everyone to have a positive experience. Part of that is having fun at games but also working hard, competing, and finding the balance between those two things.”

Nhouyanisvong said the team’s biggest achievement thus far is that they “have come together really well and…are closer than I thought we were going to be.”

Carlson said, “We have definitely improved every game. We played [Eden Prairie] yesterday, which I think is our biggest [accomplishment] until we play Edina on Tuesday. I’d say that last night [against Eden Prairie] was our best game [and was] our first win that we all really did together.” 

“We set goals before every game and [they] accomplished almost all of them, so it was really just a really good game in general,” Nhouyanisvong added. 

When Hans was asked the same question, she agreed that the team’s biggest accomplishment so far this season was “how quickly [they] have come together as a group.” She also commented on how “the team jumped into being a cohesive unit from the start.”

“The chemistry is fantastic given that they have only been with each other for a few weeks,” she said. 

Looking forward to the rest of the season, the team is looking to improve, work hard, win as many games as possible, and eventually make it to the State competition.

When Nhouyanisvong and Carlson were asked about their personal goals for the this season, they said their goal was always to make varsity and now that they’ve accomplished that, they really just want to make an impact on the team, get better and prove themselves as varsity players. They said that their favorite team memories include bus rides to and from games, winning games, the dance they do after a win, getting hyped together and ready for the next game.

Be sure to check out the girls soccer team at their next home game in the Einer Anderson Stadium.