Youth Trumps Experience on Girls Varsity Soccer CCS Championship Team


Eli Hsia

Mountain View High School’s Girls’ Varsity soccer team has had quite a successful 2014-2015 season, with an impressive 18-3-1 record and wins in both the De Anza League championship and CCS championship. The six freshmen are Nicole Bumgarner, Daniela Karchmer, Bethan Perry, Elena Palacios, Sydney Mozer, and Laura Carceroni. Never before has there been this many freshmen on the varsity team. In fact, the number of freshmen has tripled the amount the team has ever had.

Although they may be slightly less experienced than the other players, the freshmen are not given any special treatment. They are held to the same expectations as their older teammates, but also given the same opportunities to get playing time.

“I treat them as [I treat] any other grade. To me it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a senior. If you’re good enough to play, you’re going to play,” Head Coach Ivan Bandov said.

These six freshmen had very strong fundamentals and incredibly developed technical skills, making them ready to take on varsity soccer, Bandov noted. He also commended their soccer IQ, saying that they had a good understanding of the game, could read the field well, and had a natural feeling for the game — an unteachable skill.

Initially, the freshmen experienced some struggles because they were shy. They played timidly, holding them back from contributing as much as they could. Bandov solved this by joking with the players and really trying to get to know them on a personal level. This seemed to do the trick.

The greatest struggle for the six was the physicality of varsity soccer.

“Playing against bigger girls [was the biggest adjustment]. Not all of them had the physical aspect early in the season but I kept pushing them and now they’re physical enough where it doesn’t hurt them on the field, and their strengths come out because of that,” Bandov said.

Mozer echoed this sentiment, saying, “Since there are girls a lot bigger and older than me, I’ve had to become more physical while playing, which was a pretty big difference.”

Mozer and Karchmer love how playing competitively on varsity presents them with challenges that help them improve. They have to work especially hard to earn playing time. They also enjoyed how it allowed them to meet and befriend upperclassmen they otherwise would not have been exposed to.

Mozer, Karchmer, Palacios, Perry, and Carceroni all play for the MVLA Club along with fellow varsity teammates and sophomores Allie Coyne, Karrisa Hayes, and Natasha Harris. Having so many club teammates carry over onto the school team aided in Karchmer and Mozer’s transition to varsity soccer immensely.

“It was nice going in knowing a lot of people. It helps you understand the game better and be yourself out on the field more… Since [Coyne] played [varsity as a freshman] last year, she helped me out a lot and told me what I should expect,” Mozer said.

Given the massive success of the team despite their youth, MVHS’ Girls’ varsity soccer team should have many successful years ahead of them. With twenty one of twenty three players returning next year, the Spartans are poised to defend their De Anza League and CCS championships.unnamed

The Freshmen on Girls’ Varsity Soccer

From left: Elena Palacios, Laura Carceroni, Bethan Perry, Sydney Mozer, Daniela Karchmer, Nicole Bumgarner