For Cottonwood girls soccer, fun is now the name of the gameSep 11, 2023 12:57PM ● By Brian Shaw
The Cottonwood girls soccer program was in a state of disrepair, according to Athletic Director Greg Southwick not too long ago.
“It needed an infusion of new energy,” Southwick said. “Something seemed to be missing.”
Having brought on Bryce Harvest as the girls’ new head coach along with his brother Brylee [Cottonwood’s boys’ coach, as an assistant] early this summer seems to have done the team a lot of good.
That confidence in what the Harvest brothers do on and off the pitch is already translating into results on it, too.
The Colts kicked off the season at home with a 3-0 thumping of Providence Hall on Aug. 7, and then went on the road Aug. 10 and outlasted 5A Granger, 5-3.
If you ask Bryce Harvest, the secret to the Colts’ early success is to have fun playing the game.
“The girls explained to me that they didn't care if they won or lost; they just wanted to have fun playing soccer. Overall, that's my only goal,” said Harvest, who has never been a high school head coach before this season.
It may sound crazy to the average soccer novice, but it helps to know the generation of “Let’s Go” and dabs to know what this all means. Harvest, who graduated from Cottonwood in 2019, absolutely does—he gets it.
“In my short tenure so far, I've built relationships with these girls that span soccer; we've taught them how success is a byproduct of the process and if they work hard, be on time, get good grades, then and only then will we win games,” he said.
It doesn’t hurt that the Colts have several team leaders who played on Cottonwood’s girls basketball team that won a region title, last year.
“Ciel Budge and Alivia Hutton are both seniors; Lulu Vernon is a junior,” said Harvest of his team leaders. Vernon alone accounts for five of the Colts’ eight goals thus far as they continue through their preseason. She and freshman Elli Galkin will look to provide a scoring spark for Cottonwood.
One might recall that Ciel Budge was the Colts’ tiny, spirited guard who took a nasty elbow from a Payson player—and was doing a chicken-dance on the sidelines shortly after that. For the girls’ soccer team, Budge is a winger and leads a midfield with two freshmen [Taylor Young and Alyssa Julian] and Sophie Yates, who is a sophomore.
Hutton was Cottonwood’s glue on the basketball court, the player who would be the most likely to dive for loose balls and take charges. If you guessed that Hutton would be playing defense for the Colts soccer team, you’re right. The senior Hutton leads a backline dotted by another senior in Mary Neilson and sophomore Nicole Nelson while senior Kya Budge is the team’s goalkeeper.
For coach Harvest’s senior-laden team, they set four goals at the beginning of the season.
“First was to double the amount of goals scored from last year to this year, second was to halve the goals allowed on us from last year to this year, third was to win three games—one more than last year—and finally was to have fun no matter the outcomes we face.” λ