By Alina Kovyrialova
Albina Ciuprin, sophomore Communication student, is ready to catch the ball at regular football training.
Photo by Muzhytskyi Mykola
Not only do LCC women have their own football team, but they are also practicing with the men’s team and playing against professional players in the Klaipeda area.
That’s according to Coach Scott Stewart.
“The team is hungry,” he said. “Give them this season to practice and look out next year.”
The team of 14 women practices regularly in Michaelsen Centras gymnasium and often against the men’s team.
“This is something that got its roots last year when some of the ladies expressed an interest in playing and has taken flight this year with the creation of a competitive team,” said Stewart. “I’m grateful that LCC leadership was open to the discussion about a women’s team,” he said.
He went on to say that the team is still very new, nevertheless, the players are working hard both individually and as a team.
“There is a great passion, or better stated ‘fire,’ with the members of the team,” he added.
One of the players, Evianda Noka, a junior communication major, is part of the team.
She said that the training has been a huge influence on her self-improvement, as she sees progress in time management, self-discipline, and perseverance.
“I’m learning how to collaborate and how to be more group-oriented, as well as getting to know all about team spirit, she said.
The team is undergoing intense training.
“The team just adjusted the training regimens for more intensity in preparation for some upcoming friendlies and tournaments,” said Stewart.
Aušrinė Bagdonaitė, a senior psychology major and a goalkeeper on the team, added that serious training is what she loves about being on the team.
“All of the pain I might get from training is worth it, and all the girls are doing their best to improve and make us all better,” she said.
Another player, Gintarė Čemerkaitė, a sophomore business major, added that she has seen herself improving lately.
“I was scared, I didn’t know any techniques,” she said referring to a fear she ended up facing.
One more fear she got to face during a match was when she got hit in the face with a ball.
“The ball went out of my hands,” she said. In the end, it was a save.
Stewart said he is working on with the Klaipeda Football Federation about starting a full women’s league next year in the 2020-2021 season. For now, the team is aspiring to complete rather smaller goals, though nonetheless important ones. “The team will be playing friendlies and are going to be playing in at least three tournaments,” Stewart added.
He also said being on the team takes commitment.
“Anyone who wants to be part of this team has to be willing to commit and recognize that representing LCC to the general public is a great honor and responsibility,” said Stewart. “This requires dedication to the sport, the team through integrity and hard and fair play, and LCC as an institution,” he said.
Catrin Barbos is managing both the men’s and the women’s team at the moment.
“This is my first time I experience being in a manager’s position, and I extremely like it,” she said. “Being the manager definitely shapes me as an individual,” Barbos added.
Stewart went on to acknowledge the hard work put in so far.
“There are a lot of things that go on behind the curtain to make this happen,” he said. “As a team and program, we recognize the importance of unity in all of the athletic programs that LCC offers the students, and look forward to ‘increasing our game’ every season, and every match.”
The team’s first competitive match is against Gargždai “Bango” Dec. 4 in Michaelson at 6:45 p.m.