Wild soccer team learns lessons against U.S. squads

High school team faced two American club teams over the weekend.

The Mount Baker Wild senior girls soccer team learned the Americans can be a tough lot to handle.

The high school squad took off down to Kalispell and took on two Montana club teams, which ended  with a draw and a loss.

The Wild headed to Kalispell for a pair of Sunday matches which head coach Jimmy Robinson described as a tune-up experience against some talented U16 club teams.

However, the Wild had their hands full in a 1-1 draw with the Flathead Forests out of Whitefish, while losing 2-0 to the Flathead Rapids, which are based out of Kalispell.

“I think the girls learned a lot from the weekend, because I think the second game, was one of the ugliest games that we’ve played, and they know it—and that was a learning thing,” said Robinson.

“They were mad, they were disappointed, they were frustrated, and we sat down and had a really good 15-minute talk after and said, ‘What did you do wrong, what did you do right, and what did you learn from it.’”

Erin White, who plays sweeper on the back end, said the American squads were aggressive, but added that the Wild didn’t play to their potential.

“We need to work on getting the first touch on the ball and getting first to [it],” said White. “We did end up tying with Whitefish—our first game—which is better than a loss, but we definitely are better and we could’ve beat those teams.

“I’d say they weren’t the hardest teams we’ve played, for sure, but the scoring kind of led you to believe that, even though we didn’t play to our full potential.”

The second game, the loss against Kalispell, was an especially physical affair, with play getting a little edgy and chippy, said Robinson, which made the loss that much more frustrating.

However, Robinson still saw a few silver linings.

“My girls got upset, but they never backed down, so their compete level was still there,” Robinson said. “They might have lost a little focus, and they might not have had their head in the tactical part of the game, but the compete was always there.”

Despite the outcome, Robinson wants to make it an annual event because the competition is good and travel is negligible.

The Wild head right back down across the 49th parallel this weekend as they head into Coeur d’Alene for a tournament organized by the Sting, which is the host club.

White said the team has been addressing some shortcomings over the past week, which were exposed by the two teams in Kalispell.

“Working as one full team, rather than making individual plays,” White said. “Just wanting it more and getting first to that ball.”