There are few things in high school sports more physically and emotionally taxing than competing in a full game of soccer. It requires miles (literally) of running, athleticism, quickness. When played correctly, it is absolutely exhausting … and that’s with a full complement of 11 players.
Now imagine competing a game with just nine players, two short of a full lineup. Sounds rough, doesn’t it? Take that feeling and repeat it 14 times, and you might get a small sense of what the Indian Lake-Long Lake girls soccer program just experienced, all with a smile on their collective faces.
As reported by the Glen Falls Post-Star, the Indian Lake-Long Lake squad was comprised of just nine players, six from Indian Lake and three from Long Lake. Just one was a senior, and one more was a junior. With nine players, they needed the team’s entire complement to attend just to be able to get on to the field in the first place.
You could probably guess that school demographic reasons had much to do with the Indian Lake-Long Long squad’s small numbers. That’s a clear factor. So is coach Rob Linhart, a spritely 26-year-old former college athlete who inspired his team to stick together. The squad’s spirit was so impressive that only one opponent fielded 11 players against them. That didn’t make the team’s final 0-13-1 record any easier, but it did breed a sense of camaraderie among all the high school soccer teams in the area, thanks to Indian Lake-Long Lake’s inspired perseverance.
The Post-Star’s excellent, in-depth piece on the team is a must read, so please go check it out right here. It’s worth taking stock in how much the girls learned, which is apparently even more about themselves than football in general.
“We just have to remember it’s just a game,” Maddie Penrose told the Post-Star. “None of us are going to play professional soccer. It’s high school, we’re having fun.”