After taking a year off due to COVID, the Berlin Community School’s girl’s soccer team, Lady Lions, came back stronger than ever.
The team consisted of 31 students, ranging from fifth to eighth grade, according to coach and teacher Michael Ford. While only 11 can play on the field during a game, Ford’s goal was to keep as many players on board as possible to help improve their skills each day.
While the younger players may not see as much play time, Ford notes that they love being part of the team and that they always receive the most number of touches during practices.
This year, the Lady Lions were joined by former player and student Alyssa Bentz, who came back to help the team as an assistant coach. Ford connected with her while she was taking a gap year from college and working at a hospital.
“Having a young student athlete [like] herself, who came through Berlin and played Eastern High School was tremendous,” Ford said. “Just having a female role model, that’s successful as she was, was tremendous for the girls, Something to look up to.”
After the Camden County Elementary League disbanded in 2016, Ford and other coaches in the area founded the South Jersey Middle School Soccer League. Since then, the Lady Lions have won two of the league’s four championships, including its most recent match against Stratford Elementary.
This year’s season began the first week of school and only recently concluded on Oct. 26. The team was 9-0 in the league, after choosing not to compete or participate last year due to COVID.
“We lost to Stratford in the finals two years ago, so some of my upperclassmen now were underclassmen then and we kept saying, ‘The comeback is stronger than the setback,’” Ford recalled. “On the field, and with COVID. We had some time away from the field, and the girls were so excited to get out there.”
“Win or lose, the season was such a success because you get to see the joy and passion that [the athletes] played with,” he added. “They wore their school colors with pride.”
To learn more about the Berlin Community School girls soccer team, visit https://www.bcsberlin.org/Page/1416.