Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Girls soccer starts season with seven underclassmen, including three freshmen, on varsity roster

Sophomore+forward+Malia+Shen+%2827%29+celebrates+her+second+of+two+goals+during+Central%E2%80%99s+4-2+win+over+Burlington+Central+in+their+opening+game+on+March+13.
Jay Deegan
Sophomore forward Malia Shen (27) celebrates her second of two goals during Central’s 4-2 win over Burlington Central in their opening game on March 13.

Sophomore and varsity girls soccer forward Malia Shen netted two goals in Central’s 4-2 win in the opener against Burlington Central on March 13.

While such a contribution from a sophomore would be unusual on most of Central’s varsity teams, it is nothing unusual for girls soccer: Shen is just one of seven freshmen and sophomores on the varsity girl’s soccer team, and one of six who started in Central’s opener.

“Both of the passes that assisted my goals were from freshmen,” Shen said. “I thought that was really cool to see them at their debut game and how they’re able to showcase themselves in their first game.”

After losing 14 seniors to graduation at the close of last season, the team had open roster spots to fill.

“In terms of forming a varsity team, you don’t think of what class they’re in,” assistant coach Barry Baldwin said. “You think of abilities, and we’ve had some freshmen this year that are very good ability-wise.”

Having more underclassmen on varsity is beneficial, according to Shen.

“Since we have a young team this year I feel like we work really well together and the camaraderie is better,” Shen said. “I like having underclassmen in the team because I feel like coming in as a freshman you want to prove yourself so the work rates are always going to be higher.”

Central will have a tough conference schedule this year, with two schools ranked top-five in the state by prominent soccer blog Chicagoland Soccer in Metea Valley (2) and Naperville North (4). The Daily Herald ranked Metea first and North fourth in the Chicago region as well. Central is ranked 29th by Chicagoland Soccer and 17th by the Daily Herald. Despite Central’s difficult conference, Baldwin is optimistic about the season.

“I think we have great potential,” Baldwin said. “There’s a lot of talent in the team. We have great leadership. And I think the camaraderie of the team, there’s a lot of bonding going on. I think we’re going to have a great season.”

Central’s next game will be played against Waubonsie Valley on April 2.

Kate Johnson contributed to this story

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About the Contributors
Jake Pfeiffer
Jake Pfeiffer, Editor-in-Chief
Jake Pfeiffer is a senior, entering his third year on the Central Times staff, this time as Editor-in-Chief. Jake joined CT as a sophomore because he wanted to write news, but since then he has grown to love just about every element of journalism. While it is rare to see Jake anywhere other than the CT office, occasionally you can find him captaining Central’s debate team, watching baseball, listening to a seemingly endless amount of podcasts or drowning in college applications.
Jay Deegan
Jay Deegan, Print Managing Editor
Jay Deegan is a Junior at Central and happy to start his third year of journalistic adventures at the Central Times. Jay loves writing features and diving in-depth into issues that plague our community. In his free time Jay runs a freelance videography and photography business and loves to creatively express his interests in sports and filmmaking. If you’d like to join CT or have a tip, reach out!
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