History in the marking: DHS fields inaugural season for girl soccer

“Already in two weeks, they have advanced quite well. They did a great job in the first game,” Hughes said.

DHS JV girls soccer players pose for a photo during practice on Thursday afternoon. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)

Earlier this week, history was made at the DSU practice football field when the Dickinson High School girls soccer team stepped onto the field and competed in their first ever sanctioned match as Midgets.

This first season will be one of learning and introduction of the game for many of the girls as the inaugural season will be competed at JV level, but in time they hope to build a varsity team that can achieve greatness for their school.

The first game they played, the one that will go down in the history books came against the tough competition of a well experienced and tenured program. Bismarck high settled the match by the narrowest of margins (1-0). Despite the loss, head coach Celeste Hughes and her team were proud at the momentous moment and ceiling breaking achievement of their squad — especially considering most of the girls have never played soccer before.

“As of right now we have just been doing the basics. Teaching them the positions because really 80% of the girls are brand new, so we get them on the field and show them their areas where they are supposed to be and also rotation,” Hughes said. “Now that we are two weeks in we started doing some drills. Shooting from the outside, crossing it, getting it under and trying to stop that ball. I mean that's the trickiest part because you want to run straight onto it and not stutter step and not be afraid of it coming after you.”


DHS JV girls soccer head coach Celeste Hughes, is teaching the girl the basics as many of their players are brand new to soccer. (Josiah C. Cuellar)

Head coach Hughes has been playing soccer since the age of 8 and has a strong foundation of coaching and teaching soccer that extends over 10 years. She has been involved with teaching youth soccer at the West River Community Center and the Dickinson Soccer Club since moving to Dickinson a decade ago. Hughes is also partnered with assistant coach Debbie Baca who volunteered. Hughes is very grateful to have Baca, as knowing the amount of work that is ahead of them to get these girls trained is not a one person job. Further, Baca brings insight and a different perspective to the game.

Assistant Coach Debbie Baca hands out practice jersey during Thursday practice. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)

“Already in two weeks, they have advanced quite well. They did a great job in the first game,” Hughes said.

There are currently 28 girls on the squad, which now prompts the coaches to consider breaking them into sub-groups in order to give each girl enough playing time needed to gain experience.

“We keep getting more and I am all for them coming. We are going to start splitting them and kind of do a JV one and JV two just so these girls can get more playing time,” Hughes said. “I let them all be here (against Bismarck) because you just didn't know what to expect, conditioning wise and all that. Some of them didn't play as much as I wanted them too … so if I can get some more games in then the better off they will be.”

Their first game was at home against Bismarck and though they did not come away with the win Hughes noticed a lot of potential with this team.


“I am not going to lie, I was worried… about how they were going to hold up and going towards that ball and figuring it out. First half, they were going after it, they were realizing that it was a little more aggressive than they anticipated. Hughes said. “It was a brand new team from first half to second and even though we lost they came out with the biggest smiles on their faces and the biggest cheers and they were just so excited just to be able to play and I will take that; Their excitingness and willingness to keep on going then any win and any loss.”

A stand out for Hughes is their keeper Shay McCann who saved 7 shots, only allowing one to strike the net behind her. And in total the DHS team had 6 shots on target.

“Our goalie stands out because she is brand new, never played soccer before and never played goalie and we threw her in it and she just rocked it yesterday.

“She told me that she was absolutely scared out of her mind but pushed the fear behind when she got into the game and she did an amazing job.”

Though the season is young as is this new founded team, the probability of becoming a varsity team next season will be determined by multiple factors including where the team is at by the end of the season.

“It kind of depends on how the season goes and if we feel like they can move up. I do hope they progress enough and they continue through the summer and fall then there is the possibility. I just know that there is a big jump for JV to Varsity,” Hughes said. “I know it's not easy to take that jump so it would really have to be a sit down discussion with the athletic director. I don't want them to go into something and then just lose at every single game and just be frustrated. It is better to start at the bottom and keep on going.”

Hughes is encouraging her team to continue after the season by participating in summer and fall activities put on by the Dickinson Soccer Club to maintain skill level and increase their chances of going varsity in the following year.

“You can take any field, any street and you can play a game. Most sports are kind of hard, you need to actually go somewhere and do it,” Hughes said. “You can play anywhere, anytime, any place.”



Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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