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The City Journals

Huskies off-season bonded players, hoping to head into competitive soccer season

Aug 26, 2020 02:24PM ● By Julie Slama

Hillcrest High senior Ashby Worth will be one of the veteran players for the Huskies this season. (Photo courtesy of Ashby Worth)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Hillcrest High senior Ashby Worth has been waiting for this year—her senior year to help lead the Huskies on the field and on the court.

This fall, the four-year returning goalkeeper has been practicing since March when schools went into soft closure in response to COVID-19. She’s kept up with her club team, Copper Mountain, as well as with workouts sent to her by second-year Hillcrest head coach, Eldon Brough.

Beginning in June, Hillcrest girls soccer has been on the field practicing and are “really working well together,” Worth said.

This year’s team has a handful of seniors and is heavy with its junior class. 

Nine players graduated last spring after the team struggled (2-14-1) while now playing in 5A, region 6 after regions were re-aligned in 2019. The Huskies also had another new coaching staff—its fourth in five years.

“We’re really wanting to beat East and Skyline this year,” Worth said. “I think this year we’ll be more competitive and having a returning coach and the same region will help.”

Joining Brough are new assistant coaches Jessica Kelly, who also teaches biology at the school, and Claire Quick who played keeper for Hillcrest for four seasons.

As of mid-summer, their game schedule hadn’t been announced, thanks in part to the COVID-19 adjustments. 

“I’m not too worried (about COVID-19). I’m young and we’re outside. I want to use the school’s new sports complex and field house and go to school my senior year,” she said.

Worth began playing recreational soccer at age 5. By age 12, she began playing club the next few years with Blue Knights and Wasatch.

Worth said the teams would put her in goal and she “just loved it. Maybe it was at first because I didn’t have to run, but now it’s just fun. I love being able to see the field.”

Even so, Worth had to work through some mental parts of the game, such as overcoming being upset if she is scored on.

“It’s hard in goal. You feel that every goal they score on you is your fault. I’ve had to get past that and realize, they (the other team) had to get past 10 others on the field to get to me,” she said.

As a freshman, Worth played a few minutes on the JV team as the school didn’t offer the freshman-sophomore squad it previously had the past two seasons.

“It was so, so stressful. High school was a higher level of play,” she said.

That was the only season she played on the Huskies’ home field as it was torn up shortly after for the rebuild of the high school. The past two seasons and this year, they play on nearby East Midvale Elementary’s field.

Last year, she played back-up varsity goalkeeper as well as half of the JV game.

“My highlight was last year when I subbed in at the state game the last 20 minutes and we were down 6-0. I played super well and they (Maple Mountain High) didn’t score on us anymore,” she said. 

To prepare for her senior year, Worth attended some camps and has focused on her skills. This summer, the coaching staff invited Utah Valley University players to run drills with them.

“I plan to attend college in-state, but I don’t think playing is the path I will want to go. It’s sad (to think about this being her last season), but I’ll be happy to move on. It’s been fun, and I’ll definitely miss it,” she said.

In addition to soccer, Worth is a post on the school basketball team, which means she typically has a few days to transition from one sport to the next.

“Right now, I’m focusing on soccer, but when it’s basketball season, I’ll need to transition to that, think about running the floor, getting my shot back, learning how to play again,” she said.

Worth also threw her sophomore year with track and field.

“I didn’t like throwing as much because it didn’t seem like a team sport like soccer and basketball,” she said. “I love being part of the team, being together, achieving the same goal, having fun, but working hard. In soccer, it’s the adrenaline rush. I know how to play, what to do, and I love being outside, on the field.”