According to Chang, when she initially joined the Varsity team, her quiet demeanor prevented her from connecting as much as she wishes she could have with her teammates. By her Upper year, however, Chang found the team to be a major source of happiness and hopes to continue this feeling for both new and returning players.
“This year I feel like I’ve become much more aware of other things that are going on within the team. Obviously individual connections are much more important now, and I feel like I have a really strong bond with every person on the team… and that’s made soccer so much better now for me,” said Chang.
In addition to Chang’s own experience on the team, the Co-Captains from the Class of 2019 play an integral part in inspiring Chang’s leadership.
“Both [former Co-Captain Allison Zhu ’19 and former Co-Captain Elise MacDonald ’19] had a huge role in making me feel a part of the team last year… I feel like both of them really understood what it was like to be a family and to be a team. I feel like both of them really understood hard work, determination, responsibility, and respect, also just love in general,” said Chang.
Chang believes in the importance of continuing the numerous Girls Soccer team traditions, and looks to revive them this season with Co-Captain Maddy Silveira ’20. According to Chang, one of the team’s most memorable traditions is Head Coach Lisa Joel’s pre-game pep talk.
“Before every game, we get in a circle, and we hold hands, and Lisa says, ‘Let’s arrive here today, let’s take two deep breaths,’ and then we all take collective breaths. We talk about what we want to focus on for every game, who are we playing for, why are we playing… That’s honestly one of my favorite parts — it makes me so excited for playing and so excited about getting on the field,” said Chang.
According to teammate Myra Bhathena ’22, Chang’s leadership is one of the main reasons why the team is as close-knit as it is.
Bhathena said, “Rachel Chang is a leader both on and off the field. Not only because she’s a captain but because of her personality and the way people look up to her… She really helped make [Girls Soccer] as close as it is today. I know last year it was a very tight team, but this year we’ve become more of a family, and everyone is more connected because of Rachel’s leadership.”
Chang’s ability to adapt and calm attitude on the field greatly impacts the team, according to Mack Lucas ’20.
“She’s one of our most consistent players, so you rely on her to always literally do whatever you need her to do. Last year she ended up transitioning to outside back because we needed an outside back, and we were instantly like ‘Oh my gosh, Chang can do anything!’” said Lucas.
According to Chang, the team has served as a familial support system for all team members this season.
“Every year I love the team, but this year especially… I feel like we’ve bonded a lot and I also feel like there’s just this team sense of respect and understanding, and as a captain, or even just as a member, that makes me so incredibly happy. It’s my Senior fall, and I have such an amazing and great support system and family from the soccer team.”
Editor’s Note: Rachel Chang ’20 is a News Editor for The Phillipian.