Despite fracturing a growth plate in her pelvis during the 2018-2019 season, Andover Girls Soccer’s starting striker, Isobel Glass ’21, was selected to play on the U-17 Northern Irish National Soccer Team. She first got into contact with the Irish Football Association during the 2018-2019 winter season. Although she is not from Ireland, Glass’s father is Irish and she is an Irish citizen.
In order to earn a place on the national team, Glass played in scrimmages with the Northern Irish team this past August. In one of the scrimmages against Bulgaria, Glass caught the eye of one of the coaches and was selected player of the game.
Glass said, “It was a pretty long process of back and forth with the head coaches and [the] Irish Football Association. I went over on trial this past August… I think I was selected because of my [performance] on my club team and [in] different national tournaments. ”
Andover Girls Soccer Head Coach Lisa Joel attributed Glass’ success at the national level to her ability to win the ball in the attacking third of the field.
Joel said, “Isobel is one of, I think, the most talented strikers not just on our team and in the history of our program, but in prep schools. She is incredibly explosive, she has not just two gears, but she has three gears. So once she gets on the ball, she just keeps going faster and that’s a huge talent.”
Glass’s athleticism and ability to create offensive opportunities for the team renders her an invaluable player for Andover, according to Co-Captain Rachel Chang ’20 and teammate Myra Bhathena ’22 .
Chang said, “She’s super fast and very athletic, so I feel like a lot of the times she wins the ball from defenders when they’re not expecting it. I feel like that’s super dangerous and really great for us because she’s so good at going forward and moving the ball forward.”
“Glass is such a powerful and important force up top because of the chaos she creates around the field. Her speed, pressure, and technical skills are unmatched by any of her defenders so she can create such amazing offensive chances for our team,” said Bhathena.
Glass has been able to improve her skills during her high school career through her work ethic, according to Chang.
“I feel like she works super hard… She’s really good at winning the ball back and I feel like it’s so unexpected sometimes, it really catches them off guard and it can really turn the tides for the team,” continued Chang.
Bhathena and Joel feel Andover has adequately prepared Glass for the competition at the national level due to the high caliber players she competes with and against at Andover and the team’s emphasis on teamwork.
Joel said, “Most all of her teammates play at a very high level club soccer team, so she is preparing all the time to be able to train with really dedicated players, to compete against really dedicated players. So I think Andover certainly helps build the foundation for that.”
“I believe Andover prepared her because of what this team believes in. [Girls Soccer] values playing as a family, with all 21 of the players vital to our successes, and we work hard to accomplish our goals for the season,” added Bhathena.
While the Northern Irish national team is a fast-paced and intensive program, it does not have as much camaraderie as the Andover team, according to Glass.
“I do think that the national level was really fast and really dynamic. Maybe that is something that is a little different, but they were both really similar. There are definitely some things in high school that are lacking on the national teams in terms of team chemistry and the sense of unity and family that you get with high school,” said Glass.
Glass will not be able to compete with the national team this fall due to commitments at Andover, but hopes to rejoin them in the coming year.
“I was selected to go back in mid October and go to Scotland and play in the [Union of European Football Associations] qualifying rounds against Italy, Montenegro, and Scotland…that’s what the games were all about: getting prepared for the championship run in October, which I unfortunately will not be able to make because of school, but I’m looking forward to being a part of the team in the new year,” said Glass.
Editor’s Note: Rachel Chang is a News Editor for The Phillipian.