Be it as soccer players or referees, York student-athletes soar

York girls soccer
Posted at 11:00 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 23:00:51-04

YORKTOWN, VA (WTKR)- A cohesive soccer team is often a successful one.

For an example, look no further than the York girls squad. This year's Falcons are led by a strong group of juniors who have been playing on the same field for quite some time. It's helping the 2022 version of the team to fly high.

"We'll just send the ball down the field and we'll just know someone will be running up the sideline, get that ball and cross it in," said junior goalkeeper Ashley Hunt. "We'll know someone's there to put it in the goal."

"I have the easy job," smiled York head coach Amanda Atwell. "I get to sit on the sidelines and watch the benefits of their hard labor and efforts."

York is 6-0-1 on the season after Thursday night's 0-0 tie with Jamestown and has only given up two goals combined in its seven matches. The Falcons fuel each other and are motivated by what they feel was a premature exit in 2021, when they lost in the regional championship game.

"That's kind of a sore spot for a lot of us," said junior outside back Kendall Abercrombie. "It was just a rough game."

"I think that this group of girls felt like they left a little bit on the field with our loss in the regional final to Lafayette last year," noted Atwell.

"Not finishing like we wanted to and not winning like we wanted to, it's just definitely been a motivator for us to get there and win this time," added Grace Cox, the Falcons' senior forward.

These players work together on the field, but are also spreading their wings beyond their time with the team. Five of the Falcons are certified referees, officiating for various recreational leagues and travel tournaments. They can referee age groups anywhere from 10U to 19U, at times finding themselves as officials among their peers.

"You don't realize how the refs feel when you're playing," Abercrombie pointed out about what she takes away from officiating. "I kind of have a little bit more sympathy for them and understand where they're coming from."

"Being able to have that whistle and make those calls and help the players out, it really has changed my point of view of soccer in general," said junior midfielder Audrey Atwell.

It also gives these student-athletes a chance to serve as positive role models for the next generation of young soccer players.

"You want to be that example for them," the younger Atwell said. "If they do a throw-in wrong, if they pick their back leg up or something, you want to correct that at a young age so they end up learning."

"When I was younger and I had a female referee, I'd be like 'woah, that's kind of awesome,' Abercrombie added. "You don't see that very often, so I kind of wanted to do that."

Whether it's blowing the whistle or firing a shot into the back of the net, these Falcons are soaring and are hoping that 2022 will bring them at least one championship.

"I think we can accomplish a lot," the midfielder Atwell said. "I think we can take it to the next level and go to the regional tournament and possibly even states, but I won't get ahead of myself."

"We always look for the regional tournament and getting to the championship and winning," Cox said. "Coach always says if we win the state championship she'll book us a beach house in OBX."

York returns to action on Tuesday at New Kent.