As this school year comes to an end, the Mills soccer team is thinking ahead as they start recruiting new players for next season.
Last season was Coach VanWart’s first as head coach for the Mills soccer team. After last season’s record of 0 wins and 13 losses, VanWart plans to bring in new talent to the team. She believes that the new recruits will help the team have a lasting and successful fall soccer season.
“The key is to get people who will thrive at Mills, and I believe athletics and soccer will help them to do this,” VanWart said.
Throughout the year, the athletic department will recruit student athletes to join their teams. VanWart will reach out to talented soccer players throughout California and introduce them to Mills.
“We have strong academic programs, empowering athletics, engaging opportunities and a beautiful campus,” VanWart said. “Mills has a lot to offer these talented players who would like to play Division 3 soccer.”
VanWart has noticed the team’s efforts and commitment. With the new recruits, she believes that the players will continue their optimistic and positive culture with the recruits into the upcoming season.
First-year defender Vera Williamson trusts that the new recruitments that have already been introduced to Mills will be an improvement to the team and athletic department.
“I think we are up for a great season, especially [since] some of the recruits are nice and they are definitely Mills people,” Williamson said.
According to Williamson, Coach VanWart notes that there are currently six strong players that hold up the team. With new players coming in, the team expects wins in the upcoming season.
Other soccer players are against the soccer team’s efforts to recruit new players. Alexandria Miller, sophomore forward, believes that the new recruits will replace returning players for next season.
“I think [Laura] is going to pay so much attention to those people and work on pleasing those people that she will forget about the people that are already there,” Miller said.
VanWart previously worked as an assistant soccer coach for University of California, Berkeley’s female soccer team. Miller thinks that VanWart’s previous coaching experiences are influencing the new recruitment strategies for next season. Miller believes that VanWart is changing the team’s relaxed dynamic into one similar to a Division 1 team.
“She needs to let us know that we need to play better and get better rankings than what we have had in the past, but at the same time it has gotten to a point that it’s not fun anymore,” Miller said.
Sarah Villa, sophomore mid-forward, thinks the coaches should not focus on recruitment because the Mills College team is a Division 3 team.
“Soccer should be as a stress relief, and not so competitive because we are mainly focused on academics — not soccer first and then academics,” Villa said.
Villa remembers being told by other soccer players last year the team’s dynamic was open to all athletes regardless of skill level. This motivated her to later join the team. With the new recruitment plans, Villa thinks students will feel intimidated and discouraged to join the team.
Although some of the players dislike the soccer team’s recruitment plans, they agree that the team will be more successful compared to last years record.
“I know Laura has a new outlook for the team, and she wants us to succeed and do better — it’s a win-lose situation,” Miller said.
Returning players are currently practicing in their non-traditional Spring season. Along with the new recruits, returning players plan to continue their dedication and enthusiasm into the fall soccer season.