Team success more important than personal success for women’s soccer goalkeeper
Although the University of Regina Cougars women’s soccer team is not exactly the top dog, they made many improvements this season which caused them to record their best record ever.
“The team performed very well,” noted fourth-year goalkeeper Michelle Anderson. “We had a goal of six or more wins going into the season. Unfortunately, we didn’t achieve that, but we had five wins and two ties. A girl on the team did the math and we have improved 183 per cent since last year.”
Regina was able to post a 5-7-2 Canada West record this season, which put them eighth in the conference. It was a vast improvement from last season, when they finished with only two wins and finished last in the conference.
Much of their improvement is due to strong performance by Anderson this season. Anderson was named a conference first-team all-star earlier this month, and has already set numerous career records for the Cougars in all major goalkeeping categories, including wins (six), goals-against average (1.83), and shutouts (seven).
When asked about her success, Anderson remained humble.
“Personal success doesn’t really mean much if the team isn’t successful,” she reasoned, “Soccer is a team sport and you can only look good if your team makes you look good.”
She also is not taking all the credit for her team’s improvement and success this season.
“Much of our success as a team has come from our coaches,” she observed. “Bob [Maltman] has been the biggest asset to our success because he has believed in this team since his first day on the job. He and the coaching staff that he has chosen have helped to push us to the place where we are at today. Our assistant coach Lara [Guzik] and goalie coach Paul [Gardikiotis] have both dedicated their time for our benefit.”
“[Our success] was also solely based on the fact that we had a group of girls and coaches who believed in each other and our skills. We put the time in on and off the field and the results showed. However, the real test now is to not stay content with only five wins, but to push to keep improving each and every season.”
How can the team improve next season?
“We are already doing what needs to be done technically,” explained Anderson. “Our biggest obstacle seems to be a mental one. Sometimes, we doubt ourselves and our talents. When you get scored on early in the game, it’s hard not to slip back into a past mindset of “oh no, here we go again,” but I think as time goes on we are definitely breaking that thought pattern.
“We now know how to take the lead, and, more importantly, keep it. The mental barriers we have faced in the past are no longer as prominent as they once were. We need to just keep focused on staying alert for the whole game, and not letting ourselves mentally relax too much during our games”.
Apart from the obvious choice of winning a championship, Anderson has just one wish for next season.
“The chance to play at least one more game as forward before I am finished my eligibility,” she exclaimed. “I actually wish I could still play forward to this day. It is so nice to play a position that is virtually completely opposite of the one you’re used to – scoring goals instead of saving them.”
Although Anderson has broken and set many records, played and started two positions and is now considered an all-star, the goalkeeper is quick to give credit to the team.
“Without a team to give it my all for and a coach to make proud, I’m just another goalie between the posts,” she said.