by Blake Krantz and Andrew Mannix
English teacher Alicia Carrillo has been selected as the next girls’ soccer coach at this school, according to athletic director Tom Giusti.
“I am so grateful to have been chosen as the next person to lead this program. I know that Tiger pride is a real thing and I look forward to upholding my end of that proud tradition,” Carrillo said.
Carrillo, who has been coaching since before graduating college, spent 14 years as the head coach at Lincoln Sudbury, was an assistant coach at Wellesley High School, and coached at the Rivers School where she was part of the first girls team there while coaching at Boston College.
“My life is my background in soccer,” she said. Carrillo has been playing since she was 11 years old and was part of what is now known as the travel team for Wellesley High the second year it was offered for girls.
Guisti, the boys’ soccer coach, principle Jennifer Price, math teacher Leigh Paris, parents, and some student-athletes were part of the selection committee. The committee looked over the candidates and their online applications, before eventually narrowing the search down to two candidates to be interviewed.
“Ms. Carrillo had an outstanding interview that separated her from the other candidate. Her passion and commitment set her apart,” according to Giusti.
Giusti added that Carrillo was a good candidate due to her ability to relate to the students and the girls, as a female teacher who is available around the building on a daily basis.
When asked about her initial objectives as coach, Carrillo said that her primary goal is to “find a way for my style to fit into the style of the program,” and for “the program and the girls to fit my philosophies as well. I want to feel like a part of the program and for the girls to have a good relationship with the game, each other, and me.”
Junior Maya King, a future captain with juniors Eliza Bresler and Katie Daniel, is looking forward to the new season and having Carrillo as the new coach. As her English teacher last year, King described Carrillo as “really positive and energetic,” something that she deems likely to “translate onto the field.”
King added that she is “excited to see what new aspects and coaching points” Carrillo will implement on their “young team that will benefit from such an experienced coach.”
Carrillo’s main focus is for the Tigers to develop the strong team chemistry that successful teams tend to have. According to Carrillo, this means that they will not only get along, but will also play for each other, help each other, hold each other accountable, and buy into themselves and to their team goals.
Especially in a team sport like soccer, Carrillo also believes that leadership from seniors should provide the experience and that the senior class should “step up as big sisters and love, nurture, and lead the team.”
But, she stressed that there needs to be leadership in all class groups throughout the team and on each part of the field, especially in spots such as goalkeeper or center midfielder.
“I’d like to think a program that I lead will include the belief in hard work and effective effort, a belief in team, a love for the game, and a love for our opponents for giving us the opportunities to be the best we can be,” Carrillo said.
Carrillo stressed that rivalry with other teams is always present in team sports, but that this can be rooted in “hate” or in “appreciation,” and that the latter is better for everyone involved.
Long term, Carrillo hopes to be “better tomorrow than we were yesterday” and for the team’s record to improve, as the Tigers won only two games last year in comparison to the team that won the State Tournament two years ago.
As for balancing different club teams with North, Carrillo believes it is up to the athlete and not the coaches to decide which team or teams are best for each individual player.
“What it comes down to is kids should do what’s best for them, and them and their families should choose,” Carrillo said, ultimately explaining that “kids should do whatever they want to do.”
Carrillo also understands that other leagues may not want their athletes playing for high school teams, due to inconsistent coaching and playing environments.
She elaborated that high school teams are varied in that “some schools are lucky to have coaches that understand the game, are experienced, know the game and how to break down technical skills, new tactics and formations. Some schools however do not have that luxury.”
On his expectations for Carrillo, Giusti said he expects that as head coach, Carrillo will “understand the rich tradition” of Tiger Athletics, and that she will “come in and respect our senior leadership.” He wants the seniors to “work hard every single day running as students and student athletes.”
Ultimately, Carrillo emphasized her passion to replicate what her coaches once did for her in the past, and to bring everything she can offer to the team as the new head coach.
“I feel I am meant to coach. I really believe that the love, experience, and knowledge is my responsibility to share with this new generation. I really appreciate the time, wisdom, and energy my coaches shared with me and it is my responsibility to do the same.”