London girls soccer coach Lindsay Williams is so excited about the upcoming season that she can barely contain her excitement.
It’s not every day you get a second-year coach who’s team was 6-8-3 the season prior so giddy about the season, but with an uptick in the number of girls out for her team and the return of a handful of talented older players back on the roster, there’s reason for optimism.
“It’s going to be a much better year than last year,” Williams said. “We did a lot of work to promote the team on Twitter and Instagram and it really paid off. Soccer seems to be an exciting thing now and a lot more girls are interested.”
The social media push coupled with the return of a solid nucleus of players netted 25 players for tryouts, a large increase over the 15 who tried out and ultimately made the team last year. A year ago with a limited number of players the Lady Red Raiders found themselves fighting injuries and fatigue.
“There were games last year where we had just one or no subs going up against some of the best teams in the state,” the coach said.
That shouldn’t be a problem this time around, increased numbers and the leadership of seniors Ally Kimbler, Taylor Clingerman and Kaity Uldricks give the Raiders some tangible pieces to build around.
Kimbler, a four-year varsity standout, and a Division I college prospect, is the heart and soul of the London program and her coach can’t come up with enough good things to say about her.
“She’s the all-around dream kid,” Williams said. “She has a stellar attitude, works so hard and her ability to lead is great.
With Clingerman and Uldricks alongside Kimbler, the Red Raiders have a collection of team-first kids who have made being a part of the soccer program at London a desirable thing.
“Our seniors are doing a good job of keeping the team motivated, our team moral is high. These girls really like each other and it’s been really nice to see.”
The Red Raiders are not only feeling good about being with each other, they’re more skilled than they were a year ago, which will go a long way in helping them compete in the Mid-State League Ohio Division, one of the toughest girls soccer leagues in Ohio.
“Our kids are fast, skilled and not afraid to battle,” Williams said. “The thing is we’re still young, and we’re still making mistakes like freshmen and sophomore are going to make.”
The team welcomes back sophomore Abby Borden, who missed most of last season with a concussion, the Raiders will also have sophomore Hannah Coleman back in goal. Coleman spent time at camps this summer working on her keeping skills.
The coach knows that taking her team into battle with the likes of state powerhouses Bexley, Worthington Christian, Grandview and Columbus Academy won’t be easy. But having a team that’s better suited to compete with those squads is a step in the right direction.
“This is a new year and we’re a better team,” she said. “When teams play London this year they’ll see a difference. We’re not the same team they’ve been beating up on the last few years. We’re going to come ready to play, we’re going to compete.”
Chris Miles can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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