According to head coach Katherine Miller, the Dutch girls’ soccer team is more uniform than ever.

Like many teams across the country, Nederland saw its hopes for a deep playoff run last season dashed by the pandemic that closed schools in Texas in March. Miller said high school soccer teams are usually made up of 20 athletes with different lives, agendas, and goals, but this year the shared experience of the pandemic brought them closer together.

“They bonded a lot better,” Miller said. “For the first time in a long time, I’ve seen these ladies share a common goal and understanding of the situation. They are all in the same boat. It’s actually weird how they’re all on the same page. It’s just different from previous years. “

Miller said the senior group was laser focused on the task at hand as the next game on the schedule was not guaranteed.

“Because you’ve seen how COVID has affected the seniors over the past year, they know they don’t have to waste their time and run away,” she said. “Every next game we can play is good. My goal and enthusiasm is for the next game. Obviously I’m looking forward to this Port Neches game, but we just want to make it to the next game. “

The team started the season with a 4-1 record, beating Hargrave 5-0 on Saturday. Miller said the season opener was a win in itself.

“We have a very serious attitude right now, but we also understand that we have to enjoy the time we have together and make the most of it,” she said.

Nederland are giving back nine seniors this year which means the team is strong and solid across the field, coaches say.

“We have a good high, led by Maria Rendon and Karrie Faith Anders,” said Miller. “Our backline is really strong and is run by a lot of executives.”

Faith Anders, Rendon, Jordan Minaldi and Madison Plumley are the team’s captains.

They all work in a different area.

“With all of these four we got it all covered,” Miller said. “They’re really good at communicating and encouraging their teammates.”

Miller is also excited to see what two newcomers can bring to the team.

“We have Chloe Gomez who has a strong and aggressive personality and we have center-back Jayli Broussard,” said Miller.

Miller changed the way she assessed goals in the field and with her students in the classroom.

“As a coach, my main goal is to make sure they are enjoying themselves,” she said. “I want you to have positive memories this year so that this year is not so tied to COVID. If they are able to produce at a high level, I want to help them achieve their goals. “

Nederlands next game is slated for January 22nd as the Bulldogs face Hargrave again on the streets.

Nederland will open a district game against Memorial on January 26th in Port Arthur.