The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post
Newsletter

Apex: Elevating with endurance

Claire Anderson rules the soccer field with focus and trust in her team
Soccer player Claire Anderson (11) juggles a soccer ball. Claire joined the girls varsity soccer team in ninth grade and is currently co-captain. (Tiffany Zhu)

At the sharp tweet of a whistle, the audience erupts into deafening cheers. With a radiant smile on her face, Claire Anderson (11) sprints across the field to her teammates where they whoop and leap in a huddle, celebrating their first-place finish in one of the top premier soccer tournaments in the nation, the 2023 Surf College Cup

“It wasn’t all about the soccer aspect of it,” Claire said. “We had worked super hard to get there, and our growth as a team was really incredible throughout that season. Being able to end it with a win was really awesome.”

Claire began playing soccer at the age of five, when her parents enrolled her in the recreational South Bay Youth Soccer League. She quickly fell in love with the sport for its competitive nature and emphasis on teamwork, joining her first club team at seven years old. For the initial six years of her club career, Claire played at West Valley Soccer Club.

“That was my first team, and we all were like family because there weren’t a lot of players,” Claire said. “We played every game like it was the final.”

Claire’s transition to the girls’ varsity soccer team in ninth grade marked a successful start. She scored 15 goals and tallied up 13 assists her first season, earning a West Bay Athletic League All-League Honorable Mention. Improving on her freshman feats, Claire made 17 goals her sophomore year and received a WBAL All-League Second Team award.

Now, midway through her junior season, Claire stands at the forefront, leading the team in both goals and assists. As a co-captain, she assumes a leadership role, instilling motivation in her teammates with her enthusiasm for soccer. 

Even with many accomplishments under her belt, Claire believes there is always room for improvement. She approaches every training session with full focus and effort and even runs extra practices on her own over the weekends to work on her technique. 

There’s always something to do to make your chances better and you just have to keep going

— Claire Anderson (11)

With her constant efforts to challenge herself, Claire finds that her desire for perfection can sometimes hinder her performance on the field. But over the course of her career, she has learned to persevere through this mindset.

“Sometimes I’m in a rut, and I don’t score for five games,” Claire said. “Or sometimes I’m feeling like I’m not playing my best on the field. But I just have to stop thinking about it and get it out of my head and just play because I love the sport.”

Claire’s teammates recognize her as a pillar of tenacity and genuine passion. Claire’s cousin and longtime soccer teammate Kylie Anderson (11) praises Claire’s confidence, noting her as someone who never shies away from a goal.

“Claire definitely has a personality where she’s not going to be the person that needs to get told to be louder by our coach,” Kylie said. “With her, there’s a certain level of trust I have because I know I can always rely on her to get things done. And she has a lot of people around her who respect her because they know that she can hold her own on the field.” 

Claire hopes to further her love for the sport at the collegiate level. Navigating the recruiting process with minimal information, she was originally unsure about the persistent outreach and self-promotion required. 

Although the journey is still ongoing, Claire has learned valuable lessons of determination from approaching coaches, creating highlight videos, attending showcases, and applying for ID camps, which are tryouts hosted by colleges to assess prospective recruits’ skill levels.

Claire Anderson (11) kicks the ball in the air. “Sometimes I’m in a rut, and I don’t score for five games,” Claire said. “Or sometimes I’m feeling like I’m not playing my best on the field. But I just have to stop thinking about it and get it out of my head and just play because I love the sport.” (Emma Milner)

In November, Claire was one of 13 players from her age group selected to represent the Bay Area in the NorCal girls All-Star Game against Central Valley. Coaches recommend individuals from around the state, giving them the opportunity to compete against other elite soccer players and showcase their talent in front of more than 100 college coaches.

“There’s always something to do to make your chances better,” said Claire. “My mom will say, ‘Claire, do more soccer stuff for college,’ and sometimes I’m like, ‘But what stuff?’ But there’s always something to do and you just have to keep going.”

To Claire, the social aspect of being part of a team carries more meaning than accomplishments in her athletic career. Despite the demanding regimen of daily training and frequent games, Claire finds that the community she has built through soccer imparts a sense of fulfillment.

“What I love most about soccer are the people you build connections with that you can’t get anywhere else,” Claire said. “It’s having the trust for your teammate to play you the right ball and protect you on the field. And off the field, just being there for each other.”

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About the Contributors
Tiffany Zhu, Reporter
Tiffany Zhu (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Tiffany hopes to meet more members of the Harker and journalism community and share topics she's passionate about with them. In her free time, she enjoys baking and watching all genres of movies.
Eva Cheng, Reporter
Eva Cheng (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Eva hopes to learn more about her community through interviews and interactions with students and faculty. Outside of class, she loves to play soccer, read, and spend time with her friends and family.
Emma Milner, Co-Sports Editor
Emma Milner (11) is the co-sports editor for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Emma wishes to maintain strong sports coverage and continue improving her photography skills. Outside of school, she plays badminton competitively, and in her free time, she likes to watch Suits.

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