KICKOFF 2008: WLV soccer

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Building a program from scratch isn’t for the faint of heart. Perhaps that’s why West Las Vegas turned to RosaKay Carrillo when it decided to launch a soccer team.

A former college player whose passion for the sport is a family tradition, Carrillo was entrusted with this construction project in 2007. The blueprint involved recruiting players generally new to soccer, developing their skills and waiting.

Waiting for a home field to practice and play on.

Waiting at least a year for the team to be upgraded to varsity standing.

Waiting for the youngsters’ skill levels begin to match their enthusiasm.

The good news is that there does seem to be plenty of the latter. Roughly 20 student-athletes have turned out this fall.

That’s a good turnout even for an established prep soccer program. Also significant is that many of the squad members returned from the inaugural season, joining a few newcomers, including four freshmen.

The team is co-ed, the breakdown roughly even between boys and girls. Though the team is now a varsity outfit, it remains an independent, not yet affiliated with a district. And Carrillo said most teams are still viewing the Dons as a junior varsity on the schedule.

“We’re still working on the basics,” Carrillo said, “but it’s advanced basics. How to trap the ball, how to advance it. We’re not quite working on plays yet. It’s still kind of a learning process.”

Having played at higher levels, Carrillo admits to feeling antsy at times as she teaches soccer from Square One. But at the same time, the process excites her.

“It’s been challenging, but it’s been fun,” she said. “The team is enjoying themselves. They’re having fun while they’re picking things up. That’s the biggest thing. After all, if you’re not going to have fun, why do it?”

A few of West’s fledgling soccer players have “picked it up faster,” in Carrillo’s words, but she has continued to stress development as a team. “We work as a group. You’re only as strong as your weakest players.”

Off the field, the construction project comparison is even more literal. Without a home field to play on while West works on its athletic complex, the team must practice at the city’s Mountain View park and play its home games at Highlands’ Perkins Stadium.

“It’s been entertaining,” Carrillo said with a chuckle. “Hopefully next year it’ll be much better.”