Athletes and coaches honoring each other is one of the keys to the program’s success
CAMAS — The athletes have a contract they must sign in order to play for the Camas girls soccer program.
Only, before their responsibilities are noted, there is a list of responsibilities for the coaches.
The coaches will:
- Be on time, show effective leadership, make demands reasonable and practices meaningful.
- Treat all players with respect, never intentionally demean or insult a player publicly.
- Commit themselves to do whatever it takes to continually improve the program and the players.
Before the players read what is expected of them, they first read what their coaches promise to provide for them.
“As a freshman, it made me feel I was immediately part of the program,” senior Perri Belzer said. “Just because I was a freshman, I was not less than anyone else. It made me feel that I had their respect.”
“I remember the first time reading it,” goalkeeper Falissitie Depasquale said. “That was big. It’s official, to know they actually care about us.”
There are a lot of demands to play for one of the most dominate soccer programs in the Northwest. The list is long for the players — 14 items in the contract alone — but it is a worthy sacrifice for the Papermakers.
Camas is preparing to defend its Class 4A state championship when the Papermakers host Bellarmine Prep at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the opening round of the state playoffs.
This is the program’s 13th trip to state in the past 14 seasons.
It is not simply from the talent on the field, nor the excellent coaching. The success also is due in part to the respect shown toward each other.
The player contract itself is not too long. It notes the program’s core values and is a little less than 300 words. Belzer, in fact, described it as more of an agreement than a contract.
For a deeper dive into the program, though, there is a 3,100-word program handbook, detailing those core values. Yes, every player must read that, too.
Head coach Roland Minder goes over his philosophy, the purpose and scope of the program, his four elements of soccer. He explains how one earns a varsity letter. There are nutritional guidelines. Sportsmanship. Work ethic. The importance of family. (It is not just the players who are sacrificing in order to make for a successful program.)
Some of the highlights:
“Our culture values the individual and yet demands she perform within the parameters of certain organizations. So it is with the game of soccer.”
“Ultimately, the reason we are all involved with this sport is for the love and the fun of it. Any other reason will leave us unsatisfied. Therefore, an important goal is enjoyment.”
“Be humble in victory and congratulatory in defeat and people will like you.”
The attention to detail in the handbook is mirrored on the field, in matches, during training.
Monday night at Doc Harris Stadium, the Papermakers huddled just prior to the end of their training session. Together, they said, “Thanks for being at the right place at the right time doing the right thing with the right people.”
“We’re just thanking everyone for taking the time out of their day,” Depasquale said.
“We say that after every practice,” Belzer said. “That just goes along with our core values. We thank each other for coming out and doing our best and trying our best.”
The Papermakers dedicate themselves to those values in order to play for Camas. They quickly learn, however, that all those guidelines work beyond soccer.
“I think about them throughout the day,” Depasquale said. “It’s respect for other people.”
“The core values are saying … to be a good person,” Belzer said. “No matter if it’s at soccer, school, or home. Most of the core values can apply to everyday life.”
As in life, there are roles to be filled on a soccer team.
“Each player needs to contribute their strengths to the team as a whole,” the handbook advises.
At Camas, Maddie Kemp is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Papermakers. She has 83, and she is a junior. Simply put, she is the greatest finisher in Camas soccer history. That is one of her main roles.
But she could not do this alone.
“When one person scores, we’re all just achieving our goal,” Depasquale said.
There was the keeper that stopped a shot. Or a defender that took a possession away from the opponent to start a counter-attack. There were the three or four passes. Then the finish.
“Everyone’s goal is based on the best interest of the team,” Belzer said. “When Maddie scores, or anyone scores, that could not have been done without all of us.”
All of the Papermakers are hoping for four more matches this year. Camas has a first-round match Wednesday. A win would send the team to the quarterfinals and another home match Saturday. The semifinals and finals are Nov. 17 and 18 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
The team has already accomplished three of its goals. Camas won the league title, had better than an 8:1 goals:goals against ratio, and won the bi-district tournament. Now the Papermakers want to make it to the final four.
Win or lose, by adhering to the program’s handbook, players and coaches have already earned each other’s respect.
It is why they play this game at Camas.