CHARLOTTETOWN – Rachel Green is settling into the Atlantic University Sport Women’s Soccer Conference.
The centre midfielder from Borden-Carleton is in her sophomore season with the UPEI Panthers.
“Whenever I get on the field now I feel more confident in myself,” said Green, 19. “I feel I can play my game.”
A 2017 graduate of Kinkora Regional High School and a member of Team P.E.I.’s soccer team at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Green admitted it was a big transition to the university level.
“It’s definitely a big change physically,” acknowledged the daughter of Steven and Marcia Green, who has played in 20 games with the Panthers. “You are not playing against girls, you are playing against women. You have to adjust to their physicality level.
“Mentally, it’s also a big change. You have to take on a lot more schoolwork, you are studying independently and it’s busy for the first few months, especially because our season starts before school even starts.”
Panthers head coach Graeme McDonald is pleased with Green’s development.
“She is competing, she is adjusting, she is developing as a player, she has gotten some minutes on the field and she has proven out there that she can play at this level,” said McDonald. “She has to keep working hard and staying positive, and when that opportunity comes along for her she has to make an impact.”
McDonald sees a bright future for Green, and recalled a conversation he had with her at a recent practice.
“I said, ‘You know what Rachel, one of the best things about this season is I have so much confidence in you,’” said McDonald. “I can put you out there, and I know you are going to compete and you can play at this level.”
Combining offence and defence
Green said playing the centre midfield position combines both offence and defence.
“We do a lot on the attacking and defending side,” explained Green. “Right now we are focusing on playing as a team.
“We have three zones and in the attacking one they look to us to score goals, too, we just don't focus on the strikers. Once we get into the middle we start to defend, and then once we are back on top of the back-line our focus is on clearing the ball when it comes to us, and getting it back up the field.”
A science student, Green balances her commitments to the Panthers and in the classroom.
“I find it easier to keep up with everything when I’m in-season than when I’m out of season because I have more of a schedule,” offered Green. “I’m on the go all the time. I know I have to get it done in advance, and I don’t leave it until the weekend.
“Sometimes you get caught up, or you can’t get Internet to submit your things if you are on the road, or if you stay late to watch the boys’ game and cheer them on. You feel more focused the first few months of the school year because of soccer.”
With the Panthers entering the stretch drive of the regular season, including a home contest against St. Francis Xavier (4-1-2) on Sunday at 2 p.m., and the team sitting at 2-4-2 (won-lost-tied), Green says the team is eying the playoffs.
“The team is just coming together,” analyzed Green. “We are looking really good, and we have four games left – two on the road and two at home.
“We just need a few more points to make it to playoffs. Our goal this year is to make it to playoffs.”