As if Aly Spear weren’t good already, she just got better.
The Ferris High School midfielder, who was an All Greater Spokane League performer as a junior last season for the Saxon soccer team, spent part of her summer on the Spokane Shadow U-18 team that went to the national tournament in New York.
“It just gives me a lot more confidence,” said Spear. “There was nothing else I could have imagined that would have been so awesome.
“The whole tournament was just amazing players. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates.
“Just the fact I was playing a year up (as a junior with primarily seniors), and I could play with these girls at a nationally ranked level. There were four of us who played up, and it just brought a lot of confidence and let us know we could handle these players.”
The Ferris senior is the ultimate team player, often setting up her teammates rather than looking to score herself.
“She had a lot of assists last year, so I think that indicates her biggest improvement was vision and how she sees the field,” said Ferris head coach Robin Crain. “She has great speed. She’s very quick and fast, and that’s such a huge advantage.
“She has that burst of speed – where some kids can’t get out of third gear, she jumps up into fourth gear.”
Spear, who will see action at forward and midfield this season for Ferris, will help carry the load for a relatively inexperienced Saxon squad.
“Being one of the few seniors we have, she’s going to be one of the girls to be looked up to by the younger players,” Crain said. “The biggest thing with Aly is that she’s not very vocal, but she is a worker and is willing to put forth the effort.
“Leading by example is going to be key and important to her because that’s the one thing she does very well.”
“It’s a big difference (from last season),” Spear said. “I have to step it up. I’m hoping to be team captain and just step it up as a leader.
“We have a lot of younger players. I see freshmen during tryouts, and I just try to encourage them. I remember when I was a freshman being scared.
“I think being a leader, and just encouraging people throughout the season, will be a big part.”
Spear is hoping to bring the experience picked up over a decade of playing soccer to a Ferris team that suffered a disappointing finish a year ago.
“I’m hoping we’ll finish first in the GSL and that I’ll make first team forward,” Spear said. “Just having fun with it will be the big thing.
“A lot of the time we just stray away from just having fun, and I think that’s a big part of the game and in sports in general.”
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