Head Coach Jeremy Lamm says the William Monroe High School varsity girls soccer team feels like family. Perhaps that’s because almost half of the squad’s 19 teammates are actually playing with their siblings.
There are four sets of sisters on the Dragons’ team this spring, and the girls love it.
“It’s a lot of fun. We get to put aside any sibling stuff from home and just be teammates on the field,” said senior Molly Earle. “I think that’s really fun and we work really well on the field.”
Sophomore Sarah Earle has played soccer with her big sister since she was around three years old.
“It’s really nice having someone with whom I already have a connection with, and knowing where we’re going to go on the field helps a lot,” Sarah Earle said. “It’s going to be very weird not having her these next two years in high school because she’s always been there.”
The Dean sisters are just grateful they can finally play together.
“I’ve been waiting a really long time to play with her because I love her,” said junior Sidney Dean. “She’s so good at soccer and I’ve watched her play, so I know what her playing style is like and it makes it easier to play and have as a teammate.”
Emma Dean, a freshman, agreed.
“We didn’t play on the same club team so we were both looking forward to being on the same team for the first time ever,” Emma Dean said. “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s also really nice because if I don’t understand something I have someone to ask and look up to.”
Freshman Alex Sharff, goalie, loves being the boss on the field over her big sister, Julia Sharff, a senior.
“It’s pretty competitive. I enjoy having authority on the field as the goalie,” Alex Sharff said.
Julia Sharff, who is attending the University of Virginia’s Engineering School next year, hasn’t really noticed anything different.
“It’s not something I notice a whole lot because on the field we’re all the same,” Julia Sharff said.
Jordan Foley, a freshman, said her sister, Taylor Foley, a junior, is her best friend.
“I love playing with her. We get angry with each other sometimes but she’s like my best friend so it’s really awesome,” Taylor Foley said. “I think it’s more special playing with my sister.”
Taylor Foley said she thinks the closeness each pair of sisters has helped solidify the team’s bond.
“I think we’re all pretty close to our siblings,” she said. “The older sisters have always been on a team together and now we’re bringing the next generation up.”
Alex Sharff agreed.
“Jeremy talks a lot about family and I think that’s really enhanced by there being so many sets of sisters,” she said. “I’ve played with everyone for a long time and going to practices with Julia before, so I just feel like it enhances our bond and know where everybody is going to be on the field and how everyone is going to play.”
That bond accounts for some of the success on this season’s record (so far) of 5-1-1.
“We play together as a team first of all,” said Sidney Dean, who hopes to play college soccer. “I feel like this year our team is so solid. It’s not like one person is amazing, everyone contributes. We are a force to be reckoned with.”
Lamm, who’s coached for William Monroe seven years and four for varsity, said the younger sisters have made a difference.
“What is really great about the younger sisters is they have come right in and pushed the older siblings to do better and raised our level of play,” he said. “If we continue to play together, truly like a family, I’m really hoping to make a run at states; we were one game short last year.”
Having four sets of sisters on a team is unique, but not surprising to Julia Sharff.
“I guess it’s unique but it also makes sense. As you see your older sibling playing a sport you kind of pick it up. Sports are a family thing,” she said.
Soccer is definitely a family affair for the Earles. Their dad is the coach of the junior varsity girls’ soccer team and their mother is team mom.
Sidney Dean said one myth about girls’ soccer is it isn’t aggressive.
“I definitely see that the guys’ play is faster and incorporates more footwork and aggression in it and girls’ soccer is more about playing as a team,” she said. “I think a lot of people think that girls soccer is less aggressive, but it isn’t.”
Jordan Foley loves that aggression.
“It’s definitely physical, and I love that. I also like the excitement and adrenaline and drive to win,” she said.
All the sisters play for Greene Futbol Club travel soccer, except Emma Dean, who plays for SOCA U16 premier and Jordan Foley, who plays for SOCA U15 elite.
“I think this is one of the strongest team-oriented groups we’ve ever had,” Lamm said. “I have 19 girls playing soccer year-round. This is a great group and they’re very intelligent and work hard.”