The NWN had a chance to sit down with two sophomores on West’s varsity soccer team, Ashley Dyer and Edita Mackic, to talk about the upcoming annual Pepsi Showdown tournament.
NWN: What are you most excited about for the Pepsi Showdown?
Dyer: Well, the whole tournament feeling is overall pretty exciting. With my experience from last year, we went to this stadium called Olympic Park which is huge, with several fields and almost one hundred teams competing. There are usually posters of the teams along the fences and it gets me really excited just to play and see how far we can go as a team.
NWN: What is the goal for the team this year at the event?
Dyer: From last year, our team actually got really far, we made it all the way to the championship for our bracket. This year I am hoping for the same. We want to make it as far as we did last year by working as a team and being supportive of one another on the field.
NWN: What strategies will help the team excel at the Pepsi Showdown?
Dyer: I think we will excel if we all talk more on the field, put forth our full effort and work together. Talking is so important on and off the field and we also play best when everyone is talking and putting in all of our effort. We have strong players overall, but everyone on the team has to step up and contribute their role to the team.
NWN: How do you expect the team to do this year in comparison to last year?
Mackic: Since we are in an easier bracket for this year, I think we should win our bracket. With new coaches and a different coaching style, that should help us succeed this year more than last year.
NWN: What strategies will help the team succeed on the field?
Mackic: We will let the ball do more of the work instead of all the players chasing the ball. Also we will use every player on the field, unlike last year where the ball seemed to only be passed around with the same seven girls. We need to put the plays together on the field by being smart when making runs down the field.
Be sure to watch the opening games of this tournament, which will begin Saturday, April 8 at 11:30 a.m. at Olympic Park. The tournament will continue through April 23, with the final championship games taking place on Sunday, April 23 at DePaul University.