In 2009, two energetic soccer coaches revolutionized Parkrose High School’s girls soccer program. While things did not gel for years, the die was cast nonetheless.
This story isn’t about money for girls high school sports, of which there is precious little for female sports generally and Parkrose’s teams in particular, despite broad support in Portland for the womens professional soccer team and historic turnouts at Civic Stadium for Women’s World Cup exhibition games.
Neither is it a story about returning Parkrose High School alum assistant coach Dorothy Schlotz, nor about hotshot head coach Pha Lo. It isn’t about Oregon State University-bound standout striker forward Jada Krening or her eerily simpatico and recently injury-sidelined striker forward partner Jewel Boland, who are so singularly purposed and so fluidly choreographed that they may have been separated at birth. It’s not about drafted mid-fielder Shelby Martin. It isn’t about sporadically outstanding back-fielder McKenzie Gray. Moreover, it’s not about Lola LeBreton, a quick, aggressive—and recently injured—sophomore sweeper who isn’t intimidated by older, more experienced players and doesn’t hesitate to engage.
Good thing players aren’t the story, since Krening and Martin are seniors and will not be back next year.
This story isn’t about the skill or passion the players and coaches bring to the field or the sparse but loyal fans the winning team commands.
In addition, it—and perhaps ironically—isn’t about athletic director David Richardson, who did not respond to repeated requests to speak to the Memo about this only successful sports program.
This story is about an athletic program that advances toward its goal with skilled homework, headwork, footwork and teamwork, an athletic program in dead reckoning with the program’s naysayers, detractors and idle observers.
“We have put on a youth camp every summer as a fundraiser and to give back to the soccer community in our area,” a modest Schlotz said in an email. This very service-oriented community involvement sets Parkrose girls soccer apart from Parkrose High School’s other athletic programs and those of other high schools.
Lo and Schlotz conceived a five-year plan in 2009 , which included the summer camp idea as a way not only to produce a revenue stream but also to produce a soccer talent pool that could feed the Parkrose Girls soccer team with girls who have skill and desire to play competitively.
However, the revolutionary program did not gel for four years. “It didn’t take six years ago … until we got the community involved,” said Lo. The community, according to Lo and Schlotz, includes the Parkrose Youth Soccer Club, local advertisers and prospective local girls who attend the soccer camps. Lo and Schlotz say that by working closely with the Parkrose Youth Club, members who attend the summer soccer camp—unless their family moves out of the community from which they were recruited—will likely try out for the Parkrose High School girls soccer team.
The summer soccer camp is self-funding while it builds future Parkrose High School girls soccer players. The future, as Schlotz says, is just around the corner. Eighth graders who have been to the summer soccer camp are expected to try out for the varsity soccer team next year.
The girls soccer program has other unique attributes. There is no longer a junior varsity team, which affords coaches to be more selective and to coach fewer players, meeting higher standards. The result is a higher level of skill in the smaller roster and thus a higher level of play in competition.
Lo and Schlotz work their respective defense and offense squads separately and then together in scrimmages, where the squads try out their positional ball movement and attack/retreat/control and mark/steal strategies on one another, learn how to widen pass and attack angles and distances on offense and practice cutting off angles and intersecting distances on defense.
The 2015 girls soccer program at Parkrose High School finished the season 6-7-1, missing a chance at a playoff berth losing 5-4 to Liberty in their final game of the season. “We lost in the last five minutes of the game, said Coach Lo in an email. “The players fought hard, but unfortunately we came up short.” For more information about the team, or sponsorship opportunities, contact Pha Lo at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dorothy Schlotz at Dorothy_schlotz@yahoo.com.