Freshman Lily Travers has been dreaming of playing for Tam’s varsity soccer team for years. “I used to practice on the side of the Tam field,” Travers said, “And I’d see them, and I’d always come to the games and I watched their MCAL finals, and wanted to be on the team. That was like my one goal when I got to high school.”
Travers now plays center forward, and joined the team as one of four freshman, even scoring the winning goal in a game against Redwood. “That [goal] was like the best feeling ever,” she said. “We won one-zero, and I just will probably never forget that day.”
At five years old, Travers picked up her sister’s soccer ball and never put it down. “I was passing with my dad, and it just kind of stuck,” she said. “I’ve been playing ever since.”
It wasn’t until she was six, however, and playing on an indoor boys’ team, that she scored her first goal and really fell in love with sport. “I remember scoring, and then all my team was jumping up and down, because it was one of our first goals of the season,” Travers said. She began playing competitively a year later.
According to Travers, a childhood devoted to soccer has shaped her for the better. “A lot of who I am is put into soccer. That’s just what makes me, me,” she said. “… If I didn’t have soccer….I’d be totally different, and I really don’t want to know what.”
A middle school obsession with basketball never managed to distract Travers from the sport, she has always been passionate about soccer and continues to be, “[It is] the best sport in the world. I don’t even know where to start. It’s very interesting. It’s a game you can be creative in.”
For Travers, who describes her greatest strength as a player physicality, soccer has long been an outlet for her to express a different side of her personality. “I really like the environment that it comes with, the intensity, all that kind of stuff,” she said. “… I’m totally different when I’m on the field and when I’m off the field.”
Travers has met many of her closest friends through soccer and says that close relationships with teammates are key to a successful team. “When you don’t know the people that you’re playing with, it’s a lot harder,” she said. “If you don’t have a good relationship with your team, it’s not going to get you that far. That’s what I really like about Tam, is everyone on the team is close to everybody.”
At the beginning of the season, Travers felt pressure to prove herself as a freshman. “It’s hard, because when I’m playing a game and I have a lot of pressure, because I’m a freshman and I feel like I need to do everything perfect,” she said. But Travers added that “I just kind of learned from this that even if I do mess up and have bad games, it’s not just my fault. We’re all a team, that what I think of soccer. It’s not just one person.”
Though Travers cautions that “there’s never a time where you don’t have to prove yourself,” much of that anxiety has been tempered as the season has progressed and the other freshman on varsity have begun to play more in games. “The freshman are doing really well, in my opinion,” she said. “I think all four of us stepped up a lot this year, and we’re really improving as players together.”
Long before high school, Travers was singularly focused on making Tam’s varsity team. She was drawn to the goals and the championships, but simple moments of practice and community were just as much of a motivator. “I’ve always wanted to be on the team,” she said. “I was on the side [of a practice] and I was just watching them. That looked like so much fun. They were all together, as a team, and they were just shooting a goal.” Travers still has three more seasons with the girls’ team and with her the soccer team has a bright future ahead.