“I think there are a lot of things that soccer does in the communities that transcend the soccer field.”
-Brandi Denise Chastain
Ten years ago, Dickinson caught the soccer bug, starting with Parks and Recreation, then the formation of the Dickinson Soccer Club. Out of years of building and training, Dickinson now has Girls Varsity and JV soccer teams.
Coach Celeste Hughes has been involved with the club since the beginning, and is so excited to finally bring a Varsity Girls team to competition across the state this year. She and Coach Angie Shilman both played high school soccer and are committed to forming a team that focuses on improving, not winning.
“Our team is a family,” says Hughes. “Everyone is comfortable here, because everyone gets to play.”
Unique to competitive high school sports, Hughes and Shilman hold to the standard that no one gets cut. There is a place for every girl to participate in the games, even a girl who is putting on those cleats for the first time.
“We are building a program, but we are also building up each girl,” says Hughes. “What is accomplished by playing this sport isn’t always measured by goals. What is more important is to acknowledge improvement – and we’ve seen incredible growth in our girls.”
Dickinson High boy’s soccer had a head start; their first season at the Varsity level was fall of 2019. Come spring 2020, when the girl’s team should have launched, the season was shut down by the pandemic.
The Girls soccer season starts this month, on March 27, 2023.
Coaches Hughes and Shilman state most of their team stay in touch with them throughout the year. Says senior player Sierra Raatz, “I like to remind my teammates to smile because ‘That happened!’”
“Coaches will say, there’s always that one or two that keep in touch,” says Shilman. “With us, it’s most of them. We are a strong group of girls, it’s going to be exciting to watch what happens this season!”
Soccer belongs to the same WDA organization as other high school sports, meaning these girls travel as far as Minot and Jamestown to compete, before play-offs. They play in the spring, which means its likely cold, wet, and slippery on any given game day.
Building up an organization that emphasize community among the team, acceptance of all not dependent on skill level, and the dedication to keep forging a new path that will allow for more girls to be involved in the future: this makes our young women stronger and ready for the real world beyond high school.
Join Women Empowering Women in applauding Celeste Hughes and Angie Shilman for their heartfelt commitment to our girls.
Kudos is a program of the local nonprofit organization Women Empowering Women. The program recognizes the good work women do. These are women who’ve lived quietly, joyfully, or creatively to influence our lives. They are an inspiration and deserve to be recognized for their efforts and impact. Women Empowering Women is dedicated to the collaboration of women to meet needs and help women become the best versions of themselves. To learn more, see http://wewnetwork.org.