The ladies of the Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS) Rams soccer graced the ME Global field recently in their first official league exhibition, where they were beat by the Lindsay Thurber High School Raiders 2-0.
Previously, the team had an unofficial exhibition game against the ladies of Central Alberta Christian High School where Coach David Francoeur said the girls played very well. In the game against Lindsay Thurber he said he was happy with his team’s performance even though he admits the Raiders are a tough team.
“Ever since I’ve been coaching, I’ve known Lindsay Thurber to put together a strong team. In the first half, we were level 0-0 and I was pretty happy about that given the fight with the wind. In the first part of the second half, I think we were driving them very well and we had a lot of good chances, but things didn’t go our way,” Francoeur said.
“We hit the crossbar and skimmed by the net a couple of times. Everything else was kept out by their goalie. Ultimately, in the latter part of the second half, Thurber got a goal that slipped right through our goalie’s fingers. We also had kind of a defensive breakdown during the second goal and that’s how it ended. We had another couple of chances but couldn’t finish.”
Despite the team’s defeat, Francoeur sees a lot of potential in the team and is eager to continue to play. He said over the short play season, there will be a focus on passing and on ball-handling skills such as trapping and receiving passes.
“With the short season, the first thing we look at is passing and really focusing on passing well in games. I really want to get that down, and once that is done, it totally changes how they play the whole game.”
Coaching a high school soccer team can be challenging due to the wide array of player experience. Some of the team’s members play year-round in competitive leagues, while others are trying the game for the first time.
“With the players that are coming in and aren’t experienced in soccer, they can come in and improve enormously in their time. Often, a lot of them haven’t had true technical coaching in soccer, so they don’t know the proper way to do things. When they get that guidance, you can see some of the girls really skyrocket from the beginning to the end,” Francoeur said.
“With the club girls, things are going to be more stable because they play year round and the learning curve won’t be steep for them because they have the background. Hopefully, I’d like to get some of the more experienced players into a mentorship role. I’d like to kind of pair them with someone who doesn’t know the position as well and hope they can kind of help those newer girls by being very vocal and talking to them and helping them figure out what to do. I want them to walk the other girls through what they think about when they play that position.”
He said through this season, he looks forward to working with the team and seeing how the mentorship roles pan out. He said as a coach, it makes his job a little bit easier because he understands sometimes a peer’s perspective could help one improve more than a coaches perspective might.
“We have quite a few girls who are comfortable taking on that mentorship position this year and that is very helpful as a coach,” he said.