The girls and boys soccer players at Telstar are teaming up for a coed team this fall due to a lack of players in both programs. Submitted photo

Apprehension has turned to acceptance and excitement for the 2022 Telstar soccer season.

The school doesn’t have enough players for a boys team or a girls team this year, so two groups have combined to create a coed team. The Rebels, with eight boys and seven girls, will play a boys schedule and be coached by Scott White, who has been a soccer coach at Telstar since 2019.

“Originally, I was excited,” Makenzie Eliot said. “I felt playing with boys would be more aggressive and be an interesting spin on what a normal season would look like.”

While Eliot, one of three junior girls who are all captains, was excited for how the boys game would be played, her teammate and fellow captain, Morgan Zetts, was apprehensive at first and tried to round up more girls to play. 

“At first, I was scrambling to find more girls because I was like, ‘I do not want to play with these boys,’” Zetts said. “I knew most of them growing up, so I was nervous and not as excited at first.”

Cyrus Mills, a freshman boy, realized that the Rebels had two options, and one of those was not playing at all — again. Telstar last had enough players for a boys soccer team in 2018.


“I was happy we had a team, at least,” Mills said. “I knew it was going to be a coed team or nothing, so I was kind of expecting it. I like it.”

At the first practice, White noticed quickly that the boys lined up together away from all the girls, who also lined up side by side. 

Within a few minutes, White began drills that forced the two sides to intermingle. The players have since become more accustomed to having boys and girls on the team.

“With every drill I’ve run, I have made people partner up with a boy or a girl,” Zetts said. “We are trying not to segregate and get everyone involved. Knowing the boys growing up, it’s been pretty cool to help them into high school.”

The eight boys are all underclassmen: one sophomore and seven freshmen.

White said that he can almost hand off the practices to be led by Zetts, Eliot and Karen Marshall, the three junior captains. He has coached the girls team the past three years, and that familiarity along with the chemistry the girls players have cultivated has been a plus.


“I didn’t know any of these boys, so it was huge to have them to help the younger players transition,” White said. “It was big for them to show up as juniors, and it’s been seamless.”

Telstar started its regular season against Mt. Abram on the road, and lost 14-0 to the defending Mountain Valley Conference champions. It was a learning experience for the young Telstar squad. 

“It was a good test, and we had no illusions about winning but we used it as a test to get better,” White said. “We knew they were one of the best teams, and so we wanted to improve as a team.”

“We need to be a lot quicker,” Eliot said. “Boys soccer is played faster than girls, and none of us expected exactly what we saw. We need to pick up the pace and be more aggressive.”

While the speed and aggressiveness exceeded expectations, Eliot is excited to be playing that style of soccer.

“I love it,” Eliot added. “I can be a little more pushy, and, playing boys, they don’t really have an attitude when you push them, they just kind of push you back, and so that’s nice. The boys are honestly a lot more understanding in the learning process. We’ve done really well supporting each other, no matter who makes the mistake or anything.”

The Rebels will have to find ways to make up for their lack of experience and numbers. White said the soccer numbers have dwindled for various reasons, including students choosing to instead attend Oxford Hills or Gould Academy, the coronavirus pandemic and other sports at the school. But, the players are having fun and are excited for the remainder of the season.

“We’re perpetual underdogs under these conditions, but they’re all playing, having fun, and that’s all you can ask,” White said.

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