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West Valley City Journal

Wolverines try virtual training in the wake of restrictions

Jul 06, 2020 11:57AM ● By Greg James

As an attempt to maintain social distancing rules, Hunter High’s girls soccer team is doing several summer training sessions virtually. (Photo courtesy of Hunter girls soccer)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

Summer conditioning and soccer skills clinics are in full swing for all high school soccer teams. This year Hunter High School’s girls team has changed to training virtually and they have grasped the concept.

Wolverines head coach Celestte Coons found a way to keep the girls engaged in the program even when they were not allowed to meet on the pitch.

“I work out regularly at a gym,” Coons said. “When they had to be closed they started teaching classes virtually. I really like the idea, plus I work full time in health care so for me personally I am trying to be more cautious about my contact with people.”

The training sessions are recorded every two or three days and posted online for the players. Each player has the opportunity to participate live or later depending on their schedules.

“We have had more participation this way. In past years we had to deal with vacations and girls’ summer jobs. At times we have had less than 10 show up to conditioning camps. Right now I go live at 9 a.m. Some girls join in then, others do it when they can. I give them all a list of ‘homework’ items they can complete,” she said.

To start the training the girls were expected to chart their baseline skills. They ran a mile-and-a-half, dribbled the ball and completed other skills. Afterward, they submitted their results to the coaches. As the summer progresses they will be able to track their improvement.

Each session lasts approximately 45 minutes and includes fitness and soccer skill training. 

“It has been hard at times,” junior Hannah Bauer said. “I know some girls do not have backyards with lots of room so they can do all of the drills. I really just want to get back to playing on the field with my friends.”

The lack of face-to-face contact has made it important to the coaching staff to emphasize the individual drive to become better.

“It is encouraging that they seem to be taking it so seriously. We have taken the region the last two years and our goal is to make it three in a row. I know the girls on the team are very motivated to hit that goal. As coaches we keep reminding them that what we do this summer will directly affect what we can attain in the season,” Coons said.

The virus directly impacted Hunter High School. A student tested positive early on in the pandemic and the entire school was committed to quarantine for 14 days.

“None of our players tested positive for COVID-19,” Coons said. “Other than the mandatory quarantine for 14 days when this all started they have all been OK. They are pretty anxious to get back on the field and get playing again. It would be great to get back to normal.”

This is Coons’ third year coaching the team, second as its head coach. 

The Wolverines are set to return their top two scorers from a year ago, Liv Harding and Lucky Phonharath.

“Liv is a phenomenal player, Lucky plays midfield. She can fire outside the 18 (field box). She has great range and an accurate shot,” Coons said.

Junior Alondra Barba Perez recorded three shutouts as keeper last season. “She has a natural ability and she is skilled with her feet. We have been able to use her on the field. She is a huge asset to the team,” Coons said.

Hunter administration and its coaches have elevated the eligibility requirements for the team.

“We want to be better than the minimums. We know soccer is fun, but education is what will make a difference in their lives,” Coons said. “They are working hard. Their community has been hit hard through the virus and the economy, but they are pushing through and will come out on top. I am excited to see them get back at it. They are a really great group.”

Tryouts are scheduled to begin July 27 and the season is set for mid-August.