OCSL U14 girls complete big turnaround

May 25—Last spring there wasn't much to write about the group that now comprises the Old Capital Soccer League's U14 girls team.

A winless campaign was the final result for the young ladies who had just come together for their first season of full 11-on-11 action.

But success doesn't happen overnight. Chemistry is a big component of soccer. Teammates need to spend time together out on the pitch in order to learn one another and become more connected.

Time passed, and the chemistry came. Just one year after the winless struggle, the U14 girls found their spark this spring and went on an absolute tear, outscoring opponents 67-9 while earning a perfect 9-0 record.

"Most of it had to do with the players getting better and putting in the effort and the work," OCSL U14 girls head coach Jimmy Poe said.

A couple of assistants, Carson Smith and Jace Walden, also came on board to lend a hand and make the team both stronger and sharper.

As for the players on the field, Poe pointed to the midfield trio of Greysi Juarez, McKenzie Poe, and Aubrey Smith as an area of strength for the team.

"If you're going to be successful and competitive, you've got to have a good midfield that can not just play, but also has a good IQ for the game," he said. "Those three midfielders definitely did that for us."

The head coach also praised the play and speed of right winger Edith Ramirez.

All four of those core players go to school in Baldwin County, with Smith and Poe attending GMC Prep while Juarez and Ramirez have been at Oak Hill Middle and will transition to Baldwin High. Theirs are names to watch on the local soccer scene as they ascend into the high school ranks. They also exemplify what the OCSL U14 girls travel team has been able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time, from beginnings as a co-ed 9-v-9 squad to posting an unblemished record in just a few years.

"You have girls from different schools and different backgrounds," Poe said. "For some of the girls, the game of soccer is culturally imbedded in them while others had to learn to find a passion for the sport. To see all that come together, I'm almost at a loss for words for how awesome it was to see. I'm very proud of these girls and everything they've done. They're turning into not just good soccer players, but pretty good little leaders in their own way. Hopefully we're establishing something where other young girls in this area see that there's another sport that caters to them."