Hitting the reset button: the future of RJR women’s soccer


Photo provided by Clare Quadland

RJR women’s soccer team on their senior night prior to losing 12 seniors at the end of the 2022 season.

Avery Ehrman , Staff Writer

    Seniors: we all know them, and we all love them. They’re the people we look up to and also envy at the same time. Despite one’s feelings towards them, we can all agree on how much they impact us and set positive examples for how to grow as both people and athletes. 

    At the end of last year, RJ Reynolds Women’s Soccer lost twelve seniors who made up their starting lineup. After this significant decrease in numbers, the team is ready for a fresh start as they work to rebuild their team and create a successful reputation in the coming years. The Covid-19 pandemic is partially to blame for the past few losing seasons, as they lacked consistency regarding the roster. Players lost two years of playing time and are still experiencing the aftermath. 

    “The seniors last year, I think, were really impacted by covid,” Head Coach Thomas Moore said. “They had their freshman year, which we did well, I had most of them on varsity, and then their sophomore year was the year it kind [of] started. So I lost two years with them, and then they showed back up senior year. Covid impacted everyone in different ways, but it impacted the soccer team because I didn’t see the growth in them throughout those two years.”

    Even though the team lost a significant amount of seniors last year, the coaches are looking forward to a fresh start and a chance to have four years with their players to help them improve.

    “We graduated double-digit seniors last year,” Moore said. “But I don’t think that losing them is the worst thing. I mean, I think you have got [to] have a chance to hit the reset button and work with a bunch of kids that are new to the program and a little bit more moldable. So I’m excited about this year because I get to hit that reset button.”

Head coach Moore leads last year’s seniors before their final home game. (Photo provided by Robert Hill)

    The team has been in the preseason for many months, and the team chemistry and overall skill level are already improving. Preseason allows the coaches to evaluate players, see what they have to work with, and start improvements before the season begins. 

    “Preseason has benefited me tremendously,” sophomore Mary Bevins Myers said. “It’s one of the reasons I made the team last year. People don’t realize how important it is to go to preseason. Not only do you improve, but you give the coaches a chance to see what you can do.”

    Team chemistry and bonding are critical elements of winning games. Having good relationships with teammates and coaches builds a better, more successful team, and these relationships start with the leadership and community formed by upperclassmen. 

    “The seniors last year taught me how to both have fun at practice and work hard,” senior Katie Cockman said. “They taught me there is a time and place for everything. The balance of fun and drive is difficult, and they showed us how to enjoy practices while also doing our best.”

    The coaches are looking forward to the season ahead as they have a great group of girls ready to work hard and improve. As a coach, all you can ask for are players who are determined to improve, precisely what this program has. The team is looking forward to the season and is getting better every single day.