The TJC Women’s soccer season came to an end on the eighth penalty kick, but the work has not stopped there for the lady Apaches. Every Tuesday night five or six of the girls get involved with a youth soccer club that is regarded as one of the best in the nation.
“Getting involved in the community is important,” Corey Rose, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, said.
The Apaches enjoy playing soccer with what some would call “little sisters.” The soccer club that the Apaches help with is called the Sting. The Sting is the oldest soccer club in the nation and has produced more Division 1 student athletes than any other club. They are coached by UT-Tyler head coach Stephanie Webb.
The Lady Apaches first became aware of this service opportunity when Rose first moved to Tyler. Rose and his daughter wanted to be part of an elite soccer program. Rose had heard about a few soccer clubs in the area, but didn’t know exactly which would be the best fit for his daughter. After talking with friends and other coaches in the area, together Rose and his daughter agreed on the Sting. The Sting has teams of all ages and practices every Tuesday and Friday night.
The TJC women’s team is also joined by the UT-Tyler girls, combined they provide instruction that they coaches cannot provide. They are more than coaches they are “big sisters.”
“I really enjoy having the college girls help us. They are like big sisters,” said Allison Wood, a member of the Sting.
“Having the Tyler Women’s team has really been a big help to the Sting girls. When you have two college teams (TJC and UT-TYLER) you are able to really show the girls what it takes to become a college athlete. [Tyler women] help with instruction drills as well as talking to the younger girls about nutrition and eating right as well as academics,” said Head Sting and UT-TYLER Women’s Coach. “Even when you are talking to girls that are 8 years old, you need to share the importance of getting better in the classroom.”
Webb asked for five girls a week and Rose normally rotates the girls, but said “some girls like going every week.”
“Being able to help out younger girls is a really neat thing and it’s a lot of fun getting to know the [TJC] girls,” said current UT-TYLER goalkeeper Lauren Huffman.
Serving the Sting is not only good for the Sting, it’s also good for the Apaches.
They have learned what it takes to be role models. The players of the Sting look up to these girls and often try to imitate them, said Webb.
“Playing soccer with other girls and showing them how I learned is fun. I know we are looked up to, and I like that,” said current UT-Tyler player Lauren Thomas.