Courtesy of Amiyah Drummer
MSMS junior Aaron Sharp set up three no-experience-required soccer pickup games the weekend of Aug. 26-28, with more following on weekends since. These games gave students the opportunity to play before the start of the season on Oct. 12.
“I thought it’d give students something to do and time to absolutely relieve stress. Not to mention, it helps with wellness hours, so there was really no downside,” Sharp said.
Many seniors and juniors of different soccer experience levels accepted Sharp’s invitation to earn wellness time and kick the ball around on MSMS’s PAC field.
“It was good to see so many people who had and did not have experience playing,” senior Raeed Kabir said. “Here, it is far less judgmental because at my home school in Biloxi, it was much more competitive, and my team was generally afraid to mess up; however, at MSMS, it is a much more caring environment, and you get to fool around and just have fun at games like these. I really wanted to get some exercise while having a COVID-safe group hangout on campus.”
Junior Claire Ellison said she enjoyed the easygoing environment of these games.
“I have a lot of experience playing before, but since I broke my foot before my first game in my freshman year, this was my first time playing again,” Ellison said. “Resuming my soccer experience here was very enjoyable since there was less pressure than there was at my previous school, and MSMS’ soccer games are a more inclusive environment.”
With the admittance of juniors and the plan to have a fully on-campus school year at MSMS, these games allowed students and players to get to know and befriend one another. Even those who were acquaintances prior became closer through the sportsmanship and teamwork of soccer games.
“Since my classes are comprised mostly of seniors, I hadn’t had the chance to meet but a few members of MSMS’ junior class until these games,” senior Stephanie Ressel said. “While I dont have much recent soccer experience, other than briefly playing on the girls’ Blue Waves team in the 2020-2021 school year, I had a lot of fun. I noticed that my teammates trusted me enough to pass the ball to me regardless of my lack of experience.”
Similarly, junior Elliot Mathers said, “Although I knew of almost everyone playing, I met some of my seniors at the games. I wasn’t playing much at my home school, and it was a welcoming change to play midfielder and contribute to the game here. Also, it was nice to have social interaction over the weekend, which I don’t see often at MSMS.”
Many students expressed interest in joining the respective boys’ and girls’ Blue Waves teams even if they hadn’t shown interest before.
Recently appointed 2021-2022 Blue Waves senior co-captain Madison Johnson said she is prepared for the season to begin.
“I think the pickup games were really fun and are a great way for us to start preparing for the soccer season,” Johnson said. “I was impressed to see that so many people were interested and out there playing. I’m excited for this upcoming soccer season and ready to work with my teammates.”