(photo by Justin Fine)
SRHS girls soccer season is underway
The Scripps Ranch High School girls varsity soccer team is scheduled to play Mira Mesa High at home on Monday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Then, the team is scheduled to play Steel Canyon High at home on Tuesday, Dec. 17, with a 6 p.m. starting time.
So far in this young season, the Lady Falcons tied Grossmont High 2-2 on Dec. 3, defeated Christian High 3-0 on Dec. 5, defeated Mira Mesa High 3-0 on Dec. 7, lost to Granite Hills High 1-0 on Dec. 9 and defeated Carlsbad High 3-1 on Dec. 12. Photos on this page are from the Granite Hills game.
Since Scripps Ranch High School first opened in 1993, there has been one head coach for the girls soccer team. That coach is Larry Pernicano – and his expectations are high for yet another successful season.
“Every year I have coached, we have made the CIF playoffs and I expect we will do it again this year,” he stated. “We have been ranked in the top 10 for the past 15-years and I believe that will continue as well.”
Despite losing seven starters from last year’s team, Pernicano likes the fact that about one-third of this year’s team are freshmen.
“We have eight freshmen and I really liked their attitude and energy in the tryouts. They are eager to learn and play,” he explained. “Overall, it is a young team with only four seniors.”
While 10 position players and a goalie are on the field at one time, there are a total of 23 girls on the team and Pernicano has developed a system for how he likes to structure the team.
“I believe in having at least two players for any given position,” he noted. “Some girls can play more than two positions, but two girls per position is the minimum. You should always have players on the sidelines who can play each position.”
Even then, as every high school coach knows for any sport, every year players graduate and move on and new players arrive.
“Every year you have to create a new team in some way,” Pernicano said. “That means some girls also need to learn new positions as well to help the team.”
Over the years of coaching, as girls high school sports have evolved and grown, there is one change that stands out more than others, according to Pernicano.
“The athleticism of girls today is far above what it was when I began coaching,” he stated. “Back then, the girls could be technically sound with soccer skills, but they were not often athletic. I have girls on the team now who work out and train seven days a week. They are athletes.”
To build a team today requires girls who make both the soccer and athletic commitment to the sport.
“Our season is 23-games in eight weeks, or about three games a week,” Pernicano said. “That is a lot of games in a short time span. It takes about six games for a team to get its chemistry and learn to play with and trust each other.”
Most coaches believe improvement and learning how to win comes in part from losing and Pernicano is no exception. However, he has a unique approach in which he lets the girls put on their coaching hats.
“We play to win but when you lose, you learn what you need to work on to get better,” he said. “At halftime of a game, most coaches began by telling the team what they are doing well and what needs to be better. I do the opposite and listen. I ask the girls to tell me what they think is going well and not so well. And you know what? Most of the time they are right.”
Pernicano appears to be heading into another season in which a lot of things will go right, and the winning traditions of the team will continue.
“By the time CIFs come around, we will be ready,” he said.
Photos by Justin Fine. Visit justinfine.com.