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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
What I learned from leaders
By Morgan Milobar | May | June 2022
Soccer has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. However, I never expected to learn what leadership was all about because I just wanted to play and have fun. That was why I stayed in recreational soccer leagues for my entire career.
That didn’t stop me from wanting to develop my skills and challenge myself along the way. As a freshman, I expected to make the junior varsity team and learn more about the game. Tryouts that year completely subverted my expectations; I made varsity (one of two freshmen on a 25-person team), and by the end of the year had started in a couple of games.
By the time I reached my senior year, I had experienced three coaches, seven captains, one pandemic and three losing seasons. That much change is rough. The inconsistencies from year to year and the anticipation of the unknown were stressful, but I’m grateful for it. I was able to grow as a player by getting many tips and tricks from many different playing styles. I learned adaptability and leadership from many of my teammates and coaches. Due to all of this, I earned the title and responsibilities of being a captain during my senior year.
When I got this title, my mind immediately went to one of the captains from my freshman and sophomore years. She was someone the team greatly admired. She had the skills to justify the confidence she had when leading the team. She was knowledgeable about the sport and she had a commanding presence on the field. Because of her lead, I knew that I needed to be confident, but not condescending when my senior season started. I also thought of my recreational team’s coaches and how they were able to run highly successful teams many years in a row. I have attempted to apply their techniques to my high school team in hopes of influencing my team with the skills and qualities my coaches showed me. They would create drills specific to things that we struggled with in the previous game and would take specific players aside to work on one-on-one techniques for defensive shuffling, corner kicks or shooting. They showed me what leadership was and what it took to bring players with different skills, abilities and personalities together to achieve a collective goal.
This season, I learned a lot from being a leader. I developed better patience and more understanding and empathy, as well as more technical knowledge about the sport. As an experienced player, I don’t have to think about specific things, such as which way to turn my hips when shooting or how much to lock my ankle trapping a ball. But being a true leader means being able to teach and develop others on and off the field. Seeing and supporting my teammates helped me internalize and notice my own challenges, which improved my skills. Teaching and coaching other people gave me the opportunity to acknowledge improvement, which was impressive. As a result, I found satisfaction in my influence.
Personally, one of the reasons I had difficulty for this season was because I was internally battling with my player concerns and my captain concerns. As a player, I was constantly thinking about wanting to play as many minutes as possible, improving my abilities and skill, or attempting to adapt to new positions, team and coaching styles. However, as a captain, I had to take a step back to look at the team and the season from a different perspective. I felt obliged to ensure that all of the players were motivated and left practice feeling good about themselves for the next game. Throughout the season, I attempted to prevent drama and help struggling players.
Despite a difficult season, I felt that I was successful in guiding the team and the season towards improvement. I pulled confidence from previous captains when leading drills and warmups. I used my many years of experience and the knowledge I’ve gained to have productive and helpful pre-game, halftime, post-game critiques. I am extremely grateful to those who have influenced me, and I know that I will take this experience and all that I learned into my future.

Morgan Milobar is a senior at Sheldon High School in the Elk Grove Unified School District.
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