Article by: Kayla Uytengsu

Photo by: Sarah Kim

Just a few weeks ago the entire school was abuzz as ISM hosted IASAS Soccer for the first time since 2009. Few people, including both athletes and coaches, are lucky enough to experience IASAS on their home turf or court more than once during their time at ISM due to regular hosting cycles between the IASAS schools lasting up to six years. Girls Varsity Soccer coach, Mrs. Dodd, is one of the lucky few who have experienced it not only once, but thrice.

Coach Dodd has been the Varsity Girls Soccer coach since 2003. With such extensive experience, she offers valuable insight as to how IASAS tournaments have changed over the past 12 years. Upon starting her career at ISM as the assistant girls soccer coach in 2003, “Steph,” as she prefers to be called by her players, noticed a significant lack of confidence with expectations to lose in her athletes, as ISM then lacked the drive and dedication needed to be successful. This lack of motivation in 2003 was not helped by the fact that the majority of the games were held at the Manila Polo Club, as ISM facilities were not yet capable of hosting such large events; This distance from campus led to a lack of fan support from the ISM community.

The 2009 IASAS at home was a traumatic time for both ISM and the Philippines as Typhoon Ondoy had recently wreaked havoc upon the nation. The emotional distress of this calamity, as well as the numerous missed practices and games highly impacted the team and their IASAS results. Steph noted that during this time there was not much fan support as many people were consumed with ongoing efforts to help rebuild was the typhoon destroyed throughout Manila. Despite this, the 2009 team remained determined and earned themselves the fourth place title.

Steph was eagerly anticipating her third IASAS at home as the girls had just completed an extremely successful season in the local league, promising strong chances of success at IASAS. Steph said she noticed that, “[The] athletes are more confident. They have experienced success and they know how to work hard, and they know what it takes to be successful and expect to be such.” After the tournament, she noted that unlike past IASAS tournaments held at home, “There was a lot more encouragement from the ES and MS. When we played SAS at noon on that Thursday, every high schooler was out there. Before, that wouldn’t have happened.” Athletics Director, Mr. Pekin also commented that the support from the Bearcat Council, Student Ambassadors and parents played an integral role in coordinating the tournament and generating supportive crowds; This encouraged each player to put in their best effort in every game, and that is exactly what they did. Unfortunately the varsity girls were unable to reach their lofty goals of medalling this season with a total of three tied matches at IASAS; However Steph, and other supporters alike have no doubt that their hard work and determination is due to reap benefits in the future!

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