Undoubtedly, senior Julie Karcher has taken complete “possession” over her soccer career. Into her fourth year as a WCU Golden Ram, now captain, and sixteenth year as soccer player inclusively, Karcher is a testament to hard work paid off. For the past three years, Karcher has been named to the All-PSAC East first team. This honor, according to Karcher, has provided her with a “confidence on the field” in addition to a “desire to keep performing well for yourself and for the team.”
With this confidence, however, she still recognizes the particular difficulties that are connected to actual game time.
“Whenever you face a good team, it’s challenging [in that] you go into every game thinking it’s going to be a good game until the 90 minutes are up,” Karcher said.
In addition to the actual struggles that are related to the game, Karcher identifies the challenges associated with the internal dynamic of the team. She stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between the leadership and friendship aspects. Sometimes, Karcher said, the two intertwine, but ultimately they two need to be defined. Nevertheless, she described the team’s relationship as “not only a friendship, but like a sisterhood.” According to Karcher, despite the disputes on the field, when all is said and done, “you can always lean on someone.”
Furthermore, Karcher has gained recognition beyond the West Chester University parameters. In 2005, Karcher received the title of All-American at a conference in Philadelphia signifying her capacities all throughout the nation.
According to Karcher, the work in between games involves practices and warm-ups with particular drills and scrimmages against one another. When the ladies scrimmage Karcher said, they try to make it as game like and realistic as possible; this includes a performance of “high intensity” and has effectively benefited the ladies’ fitness levels.
As a forward, Karcher has managed to identify several characteristics of maintaining a strong grasp and control over her own game-on and off the field.
As an imminent graduate, Karcher is on the Dean’s list and is majoring in mathematics with a concentration in statistics. Whether in the classroom or on the field, Karcher said that her studies in mathematics have definite correlations to the dynamics of soccer.
“In math, you’re mostly given a formula, and there’s always an answer,” Karcher said. “[In soccer] whether you’re up or down, there’s going to be a way to beat someone; you just have to find it.”
Before every game, Karcher has two very significant rituals, one being a physical preparation; the other is much more cognitive.
“I tape my right foot first then my left,” Karcher said, indicating a lucky routine.
In addition, Karcher visualizes the game and the field especially the steps/different techniques for her plan of action.
At an athlete’s standpoint, she said what she could further sharpen is her particular touch as a forward in addition to perfecting shots and practicing shooting.
From a captain’s standpoint, Karcher stressed the importance of always “polishing any technique.” This she said includes aspects such as the touches, quickness and finishing.
“We’ve done well thus far and we can keep on improving,” Karcher said.
The newest addition to the team is Coach Gerry Lucey. Having a male coach for the first time, Karcher said that although it is “definitely different,” Lucey “brings an energy to the team. he wants [to win] just as bad as we do.”
Currently, Karcher holds the second highest number of goals and points in West Chester University’s Women soccer history. In regards to goals, Karcher has already accomplished her senior year goal, as of Wednesday Sept. 27 in a Regional game against CU Post, in scoring 25 points for the year. Nevertheless, Karcher has ambitions to win PSACs, but all in all, with what she has achieved, she attests to the fact the team and the drive, on and off the bench, makes her “want to play better.