Co-Captain Keira Harder ’23 Serves as Valiant Mentor to Younger Teammates

For Co-Captain Keira Harder ’23, positivity is key. With contagious zeal for the sport, Harder has served as a role model to younger players on the team as Co-Captain. Her motivation to help younger athletes has stemmed from her own experience, when an older teammate made her find a love for field hockey.

A former soccer player, Harder made a transition to field hockey under the wing of an older teammate during her ninth grade year of high school at The Rivers School. With her mentor’s guidance, Harder practiced for her entire Spring term and made the field hockey team during her Lower year. 

“She inspired me to fall in love with the sport. That next Fall, I made the team having never played before. I am so beyond grateful to that older player who fostered the potential she saw in me. Now, I feel a responsibility to pass on her kindness to those around me who are looking to try out field hockey for the first time,” wrote Harder in an email to The Phillipian.

Sarah Lackley ’26 praised Harder on her dedication to making the team inclusive and open. According to Lackley, Harder’s skill at giving helpful feedback has helped her to foster strong connections to team members, specifically newcomers like Lackley herself.

“My first impression of Keira was that she is very welcoming. She really tries to get to know her teammates, which creates group conversations that strengthen the team. When I make a mistake, Keira calmly gives me constructive feedback and takes the time to show me how to correct it,” wrote Lackley in an email to The Phillipian.

In continuation, Lackley noted Harder’s enthusiasm in assisting teammates with anything they need. Lackley emphasized the generosity and kindness that Harder displays, which has given the team a more positive outlook.

“Keira is always there to talk to me if I have any questions or need help. She is always reassuring, checking in on us, and making us feel valued. Keira shows us how to hustle and bring our best all the time. Keira has this positive, generous personality that rubs off on the team and makes it stronger,” wrote Lackley.

According to Quiana Bell ’26, Harder worked with other Co-Captains to organize practices for team members during the summer, making an effort to plan and be in attendance at every one. This approach at bringing the team together resembled the sessions that Harder’s mentor organized when she was a new player of the sport.

“Throughout the summer, the captains planned captains’ practices. There would be a conflict, and Keira would be the only captain able to go. Despite the fact that not many people went to these practices, she planned so many different drills and activities for us to do. I learned so much from her and think that part of the reason I made the team was because of the tips she gave me over the summer,” wrote Bell in an email to The Phillipian.

Harder’s main goal this year is to instill a forward-thinking mindset into the team. With a more inexperienced team this year, she hopes to create an environment in which mistakes are seen as lessons from which to make progress.

Harder wrote, “My goal for the team this year is to create an environment of growth. One where players feel comfortable trying new things and where they feel supported both on and off the field. We have a lot of younger players on the team this year, so I think creating an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. [This] will help us a lot in the long run. This way, we can push ourselves to be better without fear.”

Within their hard work, Harder complimented the familial entity that the team has become. Through this strong dynamic, she feels the team has honorably represented the myriad of athletes before them.

Harder wrote, “PAFH is so much more than just a team. We really are a family that cares deeply about each other and the sport. It’s been incredible getting to know and play with such an amazing group of girls. I am so proud of this team and to be a part of continuing the traditions and legacy of all the amazing athletes that came before us.”