Written and Media by Jen Brakenhoff
Greenville women’s soccer is ready to turn some heads this year; not only have they brought in 16 new freshman and transfers but they also have 13 returning players. After speaking with head coach, Jeff Wardlaw, it really showed how much this program and these girls really mean to him. “We play a beautiful game we love, with the teammates we love, for a God we love,” quotes Wardlaw. It is clear to anyone who watches and interacts with this team that they play for a higher purpose.
This year, the team is following a manual that provides insight into how they can develop the characteristics of “The Greenville Way.” Every soccer team has examples of what they want to accomplish and has set core values, but Greenville’s core values are very unique to many other soccer programs. Wardlaw states, “Our number one core value that we focus on is our spiritual growth and faith in every aspect of our lives. From how we treat each other, to our class and character on the field, to the way we pray with other teams and officials after a win or loss whether home or away.”
Greenville soccer wants to be different from any other collegiate soccer program. The theme for the lady panthers is to “Be Uncommon.” Wardlaw adds,” We are hoping that if we are consistent with these core values that we will be a different, noticeable, and appealing team.” This year the ladies are looking to really leave a mark wherever they go. This is a different team from last year and Greenville College women’s soccer is excited to show who they are.
The coaching staff brought in new players with new talent that have changed the makeup of the team. Coach Wardlaw says, “The level of competitiveness in practice is very, very high. We have a lot of kids fighting for a starting spot and playing time that we didn’t have last year. This can only be a positive.” They have a much deeper bench with having 30 girls on the roster this season compared to only 21 last season. The coaching staff is very excited to see what the team will accomplish this year.
After the ladies had such a disappointing season last year, Coach Wardlaw is expecting more success this year. GC women’s soccer has been in the conference tournament the past eight years and just missed the opportunity last season but expect to return this year. Not only does Wardlaw expect to be in the Conference tournament, but he is also expecting the team culture to continue to grow. Romans 5:1-5 talks about dealing with adversity and pushing through tribulations. These girls do it together and lean on one another. They are such a close knit group of young ladies. Lastly, the women’s soccer team is always trying to improve in their academic excellence. They have set a goal of a 3.5 average for the group’s GPA. Wardlaw explains, “We pursue excellence in whatever we do whether it is in relationships, classroom, devotional life, or in whatever we do we give it our all.”
Not only is this team ready to get after it and be the best that they can be, but they want to do it in a way that is uncommon. They want to share their love for the Lord and be a team full of grace. They are guaranteed to be a team to watch on and off the field due to their continued perseverance to achieve excellence. This “new and improved” Greenville College women’s soccer team is one that you do not want to miss.