By Jaylyn Galloway
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
“I play soccer, because I like working on a team to achieve a common goal,” Jackie Baratta, a Lansing resident, said.
It is important for girls to play sports to not only get the team experience — which will be important for school projects as well as future work experiences — it is also good mentally and physically, Baratta said.
The sentiment of girls getting involved in sports is shared among the Lansing community as a new addition has been made to the Hope Sports Complex/ hill SBC Soccer Club. The club will now have a semi-professional Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) team.
“We stopped after high school, now we continue for serious players in the womens’ soccer league,” Julie Mullin, general manager of the complex and owner of the Chill SBC Soccer Club said.
The club trains children until the time they are out of high school: 3- to 6-year-olds go to the structural academy, while 7- to 18-year-olds can try out for travel teams. College women who play college-level soccer who need to play during the off-season to keep their skills up can now, Mullin said.
“The semi-professional league that will be coming to town will allow for talented young players to play their favorite sport,” Peter Alegi a soccer expert, and history professor at Michigan State University said.
Algei said soccer has a positive impact on young females as they see great pro athletes that they want to model themselves after.
Society needs to encourage girls to go into sports, and you don’t have to be any certain shape or size to play, Mullin said.
According to the Women’s Sports and Fitness Facts and Statistics, research shows that girls who participate in sports are more likely to experience academic success and graduate from high school than those who do not play sports.
Team play is a part of life, whether that be soccer, baseball, or even a sales team, everyone is working to try to be successful, Mullin said.
She considers herself successful, but none of her success can be chalked up to her working alone; there is always someone supporting her and helping in her success, Mullin said.
Encouraging young women to play soccer isn’t the only thing the Hope Soccer Complex is doing they will also be hosting the first -ever soccer match between the Mexican under-20 Women’s National Soccer Team and the Michigan State University Women’s Soccer Team.
Coach Jorge Eufracio who Mullin brought in for her team, placed a call to Mexico to the national team, Mullin said. She found out that the under-20 team was coming up to the University of Notre Dame to play an exhibition game and she asked if they wanted to play against Michigan State. They agreed.
Boys, girls, men, and women can celebrate it as the game will show that it contributes to everyone in the community, Algei said.
Mullin said she wanted to celebrate the Mexican culture that is a big part of the Lansing community.
The match will be played at 7 p.m. on April 18 at the Hope Sports Complex located in south Lansing.