Knupp reflects on soccer careeer

Senior+Mallory+Knupp+warms+up+by+taking+practice+shots+before+playing+Millbrook+High+School.+

Maya Waid

Senior Mallory Knupp warms up by taking practice shots before playing Millbrook High School.

Silas Spears, Page Editor

Playing on a team since the age of four, putting in countless hours of practice, balancing sports with academics; senior Mallory Knupp approaches the end of her high school sports career. Knupp has been a part of the HHS girls soccer team since she was a freshman. 

“Growing up I was a triathlete. I swam in the summer, [played] AAU basketball in the winter and then travel soccer in the spring and summer. I [eventually] stopped [basketball] to focus on school. I fell out of love with [basketball] and just stuck to soccer,” Knupp said.

Playing soccer started as a cure to boredom, but became a focus of Knupp’s routine schedule. 

“I started out with recreational soccer when I was four and my mom was my coach.Then, I went to play academy from age seven to 12. Then once you hit 12, you go and play travel. I’ve been playing travel soccer ever since then. I [play]high school each season in between travel,” Knupp said.

This season was an adjustment for many athletes coming out of COVID-19

“It was definitely different [coming into this season after COVID-19] because I feel like last season was more relaxed and people were more [into it]. Last year, people just wanted to get out of the house, so they did every sport because that was the only thing we could do, but now people are over it all,” Knupp said.

After COVID, the team had a lot of adjusting to do in order to get back in the regular routine of things again. 

“I feel like after COVID and spending so much time apart, we had to really come back and learn how to play together as a team and work on how we can make each other successful by using our strengths,” Knupp said. “Where we were different, other people had strikes, so they were really known weaknesses, as long as we could get along as a team and come together.”

Knupp thinks that because of how wide the spectrum of experience that each player has, the team is able to work well as a unit.

“[My favorite part about our team] is that we all come from different backgrounds and have different ways of playing, Even though we all play different forms of soccer, we can all come together from different teams around the valley, like travel, rec and not playing at all, we can all come together and can hopefully be successful, ” Knupp said.

After graduating in June, Knupp plans to attend James Madison University and potentially play club soccer. 

“I [want to] play club  at JMU, but my studies come first.  I need to be successful in school before I think about playing soccer. I think a break will [serve] me well because I have been playing since I was four,” Knupp said.

Knupp believes that each athlete has a role that contributes differently to the team.

“I would [advise] people coming into the season [to] just work hard and continue to ask questions. Even though you may not be the fastest,the strongest or the best player, you still bring something to the team,” Knupp said. “Whether it be on the bench or the sideline or even on the field. You moving takes a defender away from other people, even if you don’t score the goal, you did something to make that goal happen, and I think it is important to remember that.”