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Anna Cohen was honored to be named one of the senior captains for the Hand girls’ soccer squad. (Photo courtesy of Anna Cohen )
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The Hand girls’ soccer team hasn’t played in a state final since the 2006 season, but senior captain Anna Cohen is looking to take the Tigers back to the title game this fall. Anna was named one of Hand’s senior captains alongside fellow midfielder Julia Kuhn for the upcoming campaign.
Anna started playing soccer when she was five years old. Anna and her family would kick the ball around in the backyard, inspiring her to pursue the sport more seriously. Anna quickly discovered that she likes how everyone needs to be in sync for a soccer squad to see success.
“My sister and mom both loved the sport, which influenced me to try it out. My mom ended up being my first coach, and she taught me a lot of what I know today,” Anna says. “My favorite aspect of soccer is definitely the collaboration and cooperation between teammates. Even though we all possess the same goal of winning, the significance of team chemistry sinks beneath the surface and starts off the field. Good relationships between players will translate to harmony and flow on the field, which leads to success.”
Last season, the Tigers qualified for both the SCC Tournament and Class L State Tournament. In its opening game of the state draw, Hand earned a 3-2 victory against Masuk after winning the decisive penalty-kick session by a 5-4 margin. Anna says it was a game that she will never forget.
“My favorite memory from last season was when we won the first round of the State Tournament in penalty kicks,” Anna says. “It must have been like 10 degrees out, but I couldn’t feel it, because I was celebrating and jumping up and down with my teammates.”
This year, the Tigers are welcoming Rob McConville, a former player boys’ soccer player at Hand, as the new head coach of their girls’ soccer team. Anna feels confident that the Tigers are going to thrive with McConville on the sidelines.
“I am really excited to train with my new head coach,” Anna says. “He’s super positive and supportive and will absolutely help to develop the team and help us reach our full potential. We’re in for a great season.”
McConville is looking forward to coaching at his alma mater. He believes that Anna is going to do an excellent job of leading the Tigers’ charge in 2020.
“At our captains’ meeting, it was clear that Anna is ready to take on the role of leading the team this year,” says McConville. “She has already taken proactive steps to lead the team in these challenging times.”
Anna spends a great deal of time refining her skills on the soccer field. She does plenty of running in order to increase her endurance.
“To improve my game, I make sure to put in extra touches and do shooting drills outside of practice,” says Anna. “I also run a lot to better my stamina on the field and improve my speed.”
Aside from soccer, Anna is also member of the girls’ track program at Hand. During the wintertime, she enjoys going skiing with her family. An honors student, Anna is exploring her options for college as she gets ready for her senior year of high school.
“I’m very involved with clubs and started the Unity Club with my friend in the beginning of the year. I also studied abroad in Israel for my second semester of junior year, but it was cut short due to COVID-19,” Anna says. “For college, I’m keeping my options open. I’d like to continue my soccer career and play at a collegiate level, even if that means playing club later on.”
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