By Oliver Lazenby
A familiar face to Blaine’s soccer scene has greeted the girls’ team this year. After showing success with the boys soccer team and improving their record, coach Gio Quesada is hoping his new role as head coach for the girls will follow suit.
Quesada has been a part of the girls’ team before, he assisted coaching staff in the past and his daughter Ashley played on the team for four years until she graduated in 2016.
Before practice last week, Quesada said being the girls’ head coach seemed like a way to give back to the community.
“Right when I open the gate I feel like I belong here,” he said. “I feel the community treated me well when I moved here and treated my kids well. It’s a way for me to say thank you.”
Blaine isn’t known in the 2A Northwest Conference for having a tough girls soccer team, but Quesada wants that to change that perception. The timing seems right – this year’s team brings a little more experience to the field than in the past. Senior Taylor Miller, a team captain last year, is back, as is Tessa Kelly, a fourth-year starter at goalie.
The team also has talented underclassmen, including sophomores Maya Ball and Sky Nolasco – top scorers for the Borderites as freshman last year.
“Maya Ball could be one of those players who changes the game,” Quesada said.
Quesada and Kelly, the goalkeeper, agreed the team appears well-rounded; leading the solid defense, Kelly sees an offense that’s hoping to emphasize ball possession and take lots of shots, she said.
“I also know that a lot of girls have been staying after and working on their shots,” Kelly said. “I can feel their improvement and their increased power on my hands when I’m in the goal.”
The Borderites’ first game is at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 7 at Lynden Christian. Their first home game is at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 9 against Meridian.