While changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic took their toll on the Jackson College Jets women's soccer roster, Coach Andrew Hosmer is optimistic about his team as it prepares for an April season start.
"What turned out to be our 'off season' this past fall went as well as possible with restrictions and working with players in a limited fashion," Hosmer said. However, over the winter months, several players decided to discontinue their college careers in the continuing pandemic. "Our roster went from 23 in the fall down to 14 for the spring season, which is extremely disappointing. However, the players who remain are all very talented, and I expect us to still have a lot of success if we can avoid injuries."
Abigail Badke and Solara Sheldon are the only returning sophomores this season, and both will be team captains. "Both have worked very hard in the off-season to be prepared physically and mentally for their sophomore excursion here at Jackson." Both players will continue their soccer careers after this season; Sheldon has committed to Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, while Badke is considering several options.
With just two returning, Hosmer will welcome 12 new players. "We have a very talented group of freshmen, and I expect each of them to make major contributions throughout the season," Hosmer said. "It is hard to single just one or a few out; they are all so talented, hardworking and obviously dedicated to still be around after all we've gone through this past year in athletics nationwide."
Several uncertainties could arise in the spring season – Michigan weather, COVID-19, and potential injuries that could devastate a smaller roster. While Coach Hosmer has concerns, he remains optimistic.
"I believe that we have the talent to challenge for the regional title, but there are too many uncontrollable factors out there to know for certain what will happen. My goal is to have as much fun as we can, enjoy each other's company and do our absolute best in these interesting and challenging times," Hosmer said.
"My favorite American President Theodore Roosevelt once said: 'Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.' I believe we will live by that this season more than any other before."