It truly is a new era for the Gloucester girls soccer program, as the team has undergone changes in every way imaginable.
For starters, the lady Fishermen will be playing games on the newly refurbished New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium, and the switch from a non-regulation size grass field to a regulation size turf field could drastically change the team’s style of play.
Gloucester’s lineup will also look different as the team graduated 10 seniors from 2012 and sport 12 new varsity players on this year’s roster. Those players who are returning to the team will be taking on new and expanded roles.
Lastly, Gloucester has a new head coach in Ali Walsh, who is a familiar face in the program having been the junior varsity coach for three years under previous head coach Alex White while serving as her varsity assistant last season. She is also a former Gloucester soccer player.
Walsh is hoping to keep the same style of play that has gotten Gloucester to the state tournament each of the last four seasons.
“I think my coaching style is similar to Alex as we both focus on passing, making smart runs and intense, aggressive defense,” Walsh said. “I feel fortunate that I was able to coach under Alex for the years I did as I was able to see the structure around a winning program.”
Walsh and the Fishermen will have to rely on a lot of new players to get to the postseason for a fifth straight year, but there is certainly plenty of talent around the starting lineup.
Gloucester will be led by captains Kenna O’Maley, Kelly Foster and Laura Johnson who give the team a strong nucleus in the midfield and on defense. Midfielder Tess Benson and Michelle Quinn also return to the starting lineup this fall.