“Play for the person’s hand you are holding right now; we do it together because we are a family.”
Andover Girls Soccer Head Coach Lisa Joel repeats this line before every game when the team, as per tradition, stands in a large circle holding hands. Joel’s persistent love for each of her players helps the team prosper, even in the most challenging moments.
Joel deeply values respect and love on her team: for oneself, others, and the sport. Constantly pushing these two values, Joel hopes that her players can consider the team a part of their family.
“First of all, we have to respect ourselves as human beings and care about ourselves. We always say that health and family are the most important things. Whoever you define as family and for these players, we hope GVS is a family for them. Then respect for others, and the game of soccer, and our opponents. Respect is central to who we are… If we have a shared value of love and respect towards ourselves and the game; I don’t think there’s any stronger, more important value than that,” said Joel.
Ava Davey ’25 believes Joel accurately reflects her efforts to create familial bonds within the team, which pushes each member to play selflessly. In addition, Davey appreciates Joel’s constant enthusiasm for the sport and team.
“Coach Joel motivates the team every time she is around, whether it’s in practice, a game, a bus ride there, or seeing her on campus. She is always enthusiastic and ready to coach… We set ourselves to a high standard and she knows our capability as a team, and she constantly reminds us of that, which makes everyone work super hard,” said Davey.
In order for her athletes to play at their full potential, Joel prioritizes the team’s mental health, according to Hayden Fischer ’25. Joel ensures that her athletes receive an adequate amount of rest, both physically and mentally.
“I really appreciate how Lisa puts our mental health first, whether that is in practice or games or just in life. She is always there for us, and if we ever need a day off, she is never hesitant to offer that opportunity to us because she always prioritizes our mental health. I feel like that makes a huge impact on me and our team as student-athletes,” said Fischer.
Joel aims to nurture a team environment that encourages growth. In addition, she hopes that the relationships created, challenges overcome, and lessons learned on the team can be taken to life outside the sport.
“[My goal] is to create and continue a GVS culture that cares deeply about growth as people and growth in the sport. I want these really talented players to always feel like every day and every week, we are working towards getting better as individual soccer players, and they really focus on coming together as a team. But above all of that, what I always remind them is this is about developing skills that have nothing to do with soccer. What it means is to be part of a group that cares and that has a shared purpose and has a passion and goes through all you have to go through,” said Joel.
Joel sees the best in everyone, providing resources and support for all her players to reach their personal and team goals, according to Davey. As a result, Joel constantly portrays passion and dedication.
“Coach Joel sees so much potential in every player on the team. She is so invested in teaching us every aspect of the game of soccer so that we can improve together as a team, which is such an important quality. She takes so much pride in GVS and just genuinely loves coaching the game of soccer. We all appreciate everything Coach Joel does for the team and the impact she makes on each of us is amazing,” said Davey.
Joel looks to continue the team’s ten-year win streak against Exeter on Saturday.