Tag Archives: soccer

Coaching styles impact athletes

By Alex Twoy

Staff Writer

Different coaching styles can affect the way athletes perform, as shown by the different approaches taken by Denali’s men’s and women’s soccer teams.

Coach Peter Ellerkamp said that he likes a committed, structured and organized team. “Discipline is my No. 1 coaching method,” he said. “I’ve told you this before, and I’ll tell it again: When motivation fails, let discipline take over. And I value a team that is structured and rigid and has a plan, and so what I like to do is make sure every player is at every single practice putting in 100 percent effort because you can’t just have players show up occasionally; you have to have commitment; you have to have discipline if you want to be the best.”

Coach Ellerkamp follows an organized style when he coaches a sports team. “I think it allows players to understand exactly what’s going to happen every single day because we have a set schedule and that level of predictability allows athletes to maximize training at every opportunity ‘cause they know exactly what is coming and exactly what they need to do to prepare,” he said.

Nico Suppiah, one of the captains of the men’s soccer team, explained Coach Ellerkamp’s coaching style. “He just wanted us to play as a team, and … just work together,” Suppiah said. “Ellerkamp’s style is a very – he follows a very important way of teamwork ‘cause when you’re playing as a team … it’s not, of course, an individual sport, it’s a team sport. Coach Ellerkamp gave us a lot of good drills … to help us work as a team.”

When talking about the men’s soccer team’s motivation, Suppiah felt like he and his teammates felt under pressure on the field. “Of course motivation has a positive impact on the team,” he said. “The problem was we couldn’t carry it out onto the field.” Coach Ellerkamp agrees with Suppiah’s statement about the motivation the team had. “I think the team had a positive culture off the field,” Coach Ellerkamp said. “We were pretty bought in during lunch meetings or right before games and so the belief that we could be a strong team was there; we just didn’t execute during games.”

One of the challenges of being a coach is that some athletes are not committed to the sport. “I think one of the things that Summit Denali struggles with from the student-athlete perspective is commitment,” Coach Ellerkamp said. “I was a college athlete; I was a state champion in high school, and showing up to practice wasn’t optional. If you missed one practice and you didn’t have a valid excuse, you’d be kicked off the team, and the level of commitment that I saw this year on the soccer team was not the level of commitment that you expect as a high-level coach on a varsity team.”

When coaches motivate their team, the athletes feel the positive impact the motivation has. Serena Munoz, captain of the women’s soccer team, explained how women’s soccer coach Justin Sewell, motivated the girls during the season. “He was just very interactive with us,” she said. “He made sure that all our work was done in order for us to be a student athlete.”

Coach Sewell’s coaching style, however, was different from Coach Ellerkamp’s style. “He’s not pressuring us or forcing us to do something we don’t want to do,” Munoz explained, “so he’s pretty laid back and lets us do what we have to do, and we know that what we have to improve on to get better.”

Munoz felt like she and her teammates grew as young women under Coach Sewell’s coaching style during the soccer season. She explained a huge takeaway from the season: “Seeing us grow from the years before and winning some games, which are pretty exciting.”

Coaching really has a huge impact on the way athletes perform. It had a positive impact for the men’s soccer team because they had a positive culture off the field. The young women on the women’s soccer team also felt motivated when Coach Sewell was interactive with the team and made sure every athlete could play by ensuring the team had no incompletes.

See below for a video about how coaching affects athletes:


Denali soccer teams discuss their progress and challenges

By Ellen Hu and Alex Twoy

Staff Writers


The women’s soccer team run with the ball.  PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

One Friday in December, Peter Ellerkamp, the coach of Denali’s men’s soccer team, found himself standing in a classroom instead of on the soccer field. “We had to cancel a practice because we didn’t have enough eligible players for our game that was coming up,” Coach Ellerkamp said.

Although Coach Ellerkamp is competitive when it comes to soccer, he still believes that school comes first. “It’s not athlete student; it’s student athlete. Student comes first,” he said.


The men’s soccer team watches the ball. PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

Instead of practicing soccer outside, the team sat in Room 10 and worked to get ahead or catch up on any projects or playlists that they were behind on. It was “a very hype and fun environment,” men’s soccer team co-captain and Denali sophomore Nico Suppiah said.

Summit Denali High School has teams for running, basketball, soccer, swimming, wrestling and volleyball. The school plans to add a baseball team later in the year.

During the winter season, the men and women’s soccer teams compete against other charter schools in the area. The men’s soccer team practices four times a week, while the women’s soccer team practices three times a week.


Raedyn McFarland stands in front of the goal.  PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

Many of these student athletes see the camaraderie associated with soccer as a positive addition to their lives. “Being on a team helps you be a part of something bigger than yourself,” Denali sophomore Raedyn McFarland said. “When someone else does something, you feel that same kind of accomplishment with them, and you can celebrate that accomplishment together.”

This teamwork has begun to show; the women’s soccer team has won two of their games. “It’s pretty cool to see all of us work really hard and just seeing all of the work we put in and seeing it result,” Denali junior Serena Munoz, team captain of the women’s soccer team, said.


The women’s soccer team runs with the ball. PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

The coaches see soccer as a way to build important life skills. “You get to see a lot of students have different strengths that they don’t get to show in the classroom that they can show on the field,” Coach Ellerkamp said. Coach Justin Sewell of the women’s soccer team, agrees. He believes that coaching allows him to build skills “you don’t get to build as much in the classroom” with his student athletes, especially leadership and teamwork.

To cultivate these skills, Coach Sewell always makes sure to leave two to three minutes for the team captains to speak to the girls. “Because, ultimately, they are the ones on the field, not me,” he said. “I want them to be leaders on and off the field.”


Serena Munoz (14) and Sierra Scarlett (10) create a wall.  PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

As team captain of the women’s soccer team, Munoz knows she has to hold herself to a high standard. “It’s kind of being that role model and saying, if I can do it then you can do it,” she said. Misael Aguilar, Denali junior and co-captain of the men’s soccer team, views himself responsible for the team. “I feel like everything’s put on you–it’s your team,” he said.

Suppiah sees academic success as one of the main challenges that the men’s team faces. “Making sure everyone is on track with their academics because if they’re not, they can’t play,” he said when asked about these challenges.


Ethan Reiblein handles the ball.  PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

“We have academic eligibility, or lack of,” Coach Ellerkamp said. Academic eligibility is a policy that Summit Denali follows where students must be on-track in their classes before they can play their sport. One of Coach Ellerkamp’s largest challenges is that some of his best players also struggle in one or more of their courses and have to stay after school to focus on academics.

This system of academic eligibility has forced students to develop study skills. Soccer has helped Munoz build her organizational skills by planning out her week. She says that “having that energy, or setting up specific days where I can say, ‘Oh, I need to work on this on this day to stay on track’” has helped her throughout the year, not just in the soccer season.


Misael Aguilar kicks the ball back into play.  PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

“To be honest, I feel like everybody has a different opinion about education,” Aguilar says. “There’s going to be some students who want good grades.” For Aguilar, focusing on one thing helps him get his work done. Listening to music acts as a catalyst to help him do this.

McFarland has found herself adapting to the time restraints from sports through organization and planning. She also holds herself more accountable in class. “If I want to goof off in class, I have to remember, ‘Hey, I have this due and I have soccer practice so I have to get this done,’” she said.

Denali’s coaches are always looking to support their athletes. Coach Sewell said that academics should be student athletes’ top priority. “Academics have always been really important to me. I think success in the classroom is an indicator for success on the field,” he said. Coach Sewell makes an effort to come in before school and help athletes in their academics when he can.


Sierra Scarlett takes the ball.  PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

Coach Ellerkamp sees correlations between his athletes’ academic success and their success on the field. “The students who are on-track are the most focused in practice, and therefore perform the best in practice and in games,” he said.

Nonetheless, soccer still plays a large role in these students’ lives. “I wouldn’t say soccer is that stressful; it’s more of a stress-reliever,” Munoz said. She sees her participation on the soccer team as a way to take her mind off of the writing and reading that she does during the school day.

Participating in school sports can be a benefit in many ways. Suppiah views sports as a way to get exercise and make friends. “It can create a lot of opportunities for you in life,” he said. “If you are really taking the sport you like seriously, you could potentially get a scholarship or become a professional, but that’s very tough to do.”


The men’s soccer team handles the ball. PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu

Summit Denali High School’s women’s soccer team has eight more games this year, while the men’s soccer team has six more games. The soccer season ends at the beginning of February.

Featured Image (at the top of this post): Alexandra Sibrian-Escobar kicks the ball into play.  PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Hu


The men and women’s soccer team schedule for the remainder of the year:


Soccer helps students become responsible

 By Juan Ambrosio, Osvaldo Ayala and Brayan Lozano 

Staff Writers

Among all the studying and hard work at Summit Public School: Rainier, joining the soccer team has made student athletes become responsible through managing school work and soccer games / practices. This is especially true for these students: Andrew Guerrero, Humberto Flores and Osvaldo Ayala.

When Rainier junior Andrew Guerrero was younger, he loved to play soccer with his older brother because it was fun for both of them; they would play soccer until they got tired of playing with each other. When Guerrero got into high school, he was better than his brother. That’s when Guerrero’s brother and Andrew both decided to join the Rainier soccer team and started to grow a stronger bond with each other and their teammates.

Rainier sophomore Humberto Flores plays soccer because his dad was a soccer player. When he lived in Mexico, his dad enjoyed playing the sport every day of his life until he broke his leg during a game. Although at first he was shy during practice, Flores later built many friendships with the other players.

Rainier junior Osvaldo Ayala plays soccer because some of his family members used to play soccer when they were younger, so he was influenced to play soccer since he would see his older brothers play and have fun with each other and build a stronger bond. Playing soccer made them become closer with each other and communicate more. When he first joined the soccer team he was nervous to see how the other players would react to his skills, since he wasn’t really good.

Joining the soccer team has changed these students’ lives, enabling them to become student athletes and responsible teens.

See below for a video about the team: 


Freshman Gino Moses shares his soccer experience

By Dylan Galiotto

Staff Writer

Gino Moses, a 14-year-old freshman, has had a joyful, lifelong experience with soccer. Most of his life revolves around the sport, and it has impacted him greatly. He plays for a club team, as well as for the Tahoma team. In a separate interview, he stated: “I mean, I guess I’ve helped the team – helped score, and, you know, move the ball around.”

See below for the full athlete profile:

Soccer is a good distraction

By Elton Morfin

Staff Writer

Soccer helps me a lot; for example, if I have a lot on my mind or if I am angry. What do I do instead of taking out all that anger on someone else? I go play soccer because it helps me calm down.

For me, soccer feels relaxing, and it distracts me from the things on my mind. I think soccer is a good distraction because it physically makes me fit, and it helps me focus on the sport instead of whatever else is bothering me.

Bryant Tover, a freshman at Summit Prep who plays for the Juventus Sport Club in Redwood City, also feels that soccer is very important to him and that it helps him develop physically and mentally. “Soccer is relaxing to me,” he said.

bryant (1)

Summit Prep freshman Bryant Tover

As Joey Bilotta, the vice president of EduKick, a cultural immersion soccer training program, explained in a post for the International Mental Game Coaching Association: “Everybody gets nervous before a game or a performance. Unfortunately, anxiety can also muddle your thinking, which can cause you to make bad judgments on the field. If you’re alert, but relaxed, you can make decisions better and faster when you’re under pressure.”

In conclusion, some tips for soccer are to be relaxed and calm. I can not stress this enough, soccer is very relaxing and calm.

Featured image (at the top of this post): Summit Prep freshman Elton Morfin shoots on goal during an after school Friday pickup game. 



Soccer brings the community together

By Michael Palmer

Staff Writer

The ball was soaring off the freshly cut grass, and it was headed toward the right corner. After a split second I heard cheering – I heard a swoosh as it hit the back of the net.

This story, and soccer in general, has impacted me. The sport has shown me skills that I will continue to use for the rest of my life, like discipline, social skills, and, last but not least, happiness.

Discipline is an attribute which is taught through soccer.

“It teaches discipline,” Crystal Hernandez, a Tahoma junior, said.

Soccer helps, not only on the field, but also in life.

Soccer has impacted my social skills very greatly. Constant socializing through my years of soccer is how I made some of my close friends.

“It brings everyone together,” Tahoma senior Tania Castañeda said.

Soccer matters because it shows you important skills you will use for the rest of your life, and it creates a good environment in which you will continue to strive and become a better person.

In conclusion, soccer has greatly impacted me, and many other people, in a positive way, and it will continue to cause a change in our lives. 

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