Home Sports Local Sports Goddard’s Sarah Mathison prepares for senior year

Goddard’s Sarah Mathison prepares for senior year

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Goddard senior Sarah Mathison is ready to play soccer after COVID-19 restrictions delayed the start of the soccer season. Barring any other restrictions, the soccer season is scheduled to begin March 1. (Steve Notz Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By Zac Alfers
Special to RDR Sports

Senior year of high school is a momentous time for many young people, as they make the transition into adulthood and begin making their own plans for their future.

The excitement of applying to colleges and discussing potential career paths with classmates could be a lot to handle for some. When you add the challenges of online school and shortened athletic calendars caused by the COVID-19 outbreak on top of all that, it’s easy to see how a high schooler could be overwhelmed.

Goddard’s Sarah Mathison brings the ball up the field during a game. (Steve Notz Photo)

Instead of letting these decisions weigh her down, Sarah Mathison has approached her senior year with an infectious positivity and has adopted “never give up” as her mantra. Sarah, now a defensive midfielder for Goddard High, has been playing soccer since she was 5 years old and is using her childhood passion to help keep her motivated during these trying times.

For Sarah, and many of the girls on the team, practice has become their safe haven. It has become a temporary refuge for the Rockets where they can forget about the difficulties of everyday life and instead come together and bond over their mutual love for the game.

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“I think our coaches have been doing a really good job this entire year of keeping the team’s hopes up,” Sarah said. “From the beginning they told us, we are going to have a season. Constantly hearing that every day gives me so much hope. Hearing that makes me want to go 10 times harder in practice.”

Given the current mandates on social distancing, the team hasn’t been able to practice together at full-strength since last season. Currently, the squad meets four times a week but in separate offensive and defensive groups. In a game like soccer, chemistry is extremely important. With the team not being able to play as a complete unit, Sarah is interested to see how the squad bans together once competition resumes.

One player in particular she shouldn’t have a problem getting on the same page with is her twin sister Emily, who plays keeper for the Rockets. Sarah says she enjoys playing with her sister because she believes their competitive relationship makes them both stronger players. That connection is apparent when the twins step onto the pitch, as they appear to be able to see into each other’s heads and each bring a play style that compliments the other.

When asked about the upcoming season, Sarah was ecstatic, stating “I am super excited. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since March of last year. I don’t want to regret anything, so I’ve been constantly working so that when the season comes, I’m ready to get out on the field and start playing.”

That return to play seems ever more hopeful after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Feb. 2 that every school district in the state can safely welcome students back to the classroom starting Feb. 8. That announcement was followed by a statement from the New Mexico Activities Association that interscholastic athletics can begin Feb. 22.

For many, this news is a breath of fresh air. For Sarah and the rest of the Goddard High School girls’ soccer team, this news means that the hard work has just begun.

“It is hard dealing with online school and sports, but you need to have hope that something better is coming in the future. That’s what I’ve been trying to do for the past 10 months. Our coaches tell us every day, ‘Have hope, there is something to hold onto.’”

Barring any further complications, Sarah and the rest of the GHS girls’ soccer team continue to look toward the start of the season, scheduled to kick off March 1.