Girls’ Soccer Siblings Take the Field

It’s no secret that teammates often feel like family. On the Staples girls varsity soccer team, however, the idea of sisterhood is taken to a new extreme. Captains Gea Mitas ‘14 and Meghan Lonergan ’14 both have younger sisters who are playing alongside them on the varsity squad. Having sisters playing for the same team has the potential to be catastrophic– like going through each other’s wardrobes without asking, but with more significant consequences. But with the right amount of encouragement and support, sisters can help each other immensely on the field.

“I think it could actually be beneficial for the girls, having someone they connect with playing alongside them,” coach Heather Driscoll said.

The girls agreed with their coach, but also pointed out the difficulty in this situation. “Playing with my sister can be very fun, but it is different treating her like another one of the girls on the team,” Gea said.

It’s no surprise that the Lonergan and Mitas homes are filled with talk about the game. “We always talk about what we can do better. We help each other out,” Meghan said. “If there is something she doesn’t understand, like a drill or a set play, she will ask me when we get home.”

“She’s kind of like my teacher,” Claire Lonergan ’17 said. “It’s nice having someone who’s comfortable being honest when you need advice on the field.”

The Mitas sisters help each other in a different way. They spend time at home playing together, working on their technical skills and giving each other tips. Similarly to the Lonergans, the Mitas’ pay attention to each other’s technique during games, and later give one another advice on how to improve.

Having daughters who are on the same team certainly makes life easier for the girls’ parents. Gea says that their parents no longer have to worry about trying to make both of their daughters’ games.

The only sisters that Driscoll has had on her team in the past have been twins. She has only seen healthy relationships, where sisters encouraged one another and positively influenced each other’s attitudes about the game. She said she is excited to have the Mitas and the Lonergan sisters on the team this year.

As expected, there are some disadvantages bringing family members onto the same team. “If we say something mean to each other at practice, the mood might carry into the house,” Elizabeth Mitas ’16 said.

Gea said that at a recent game, she got angry at her sister out of frustration with how the team was playing. She said that looking back at it, she could have handled the situation better.

“Though it does have its disadvantages, I do like having my sister on my team. It definitely motivates me to be good, like she always is,” Elizabeth said.

Team pride and family pride are combined on this team. Elizabeth said she is happy and proud when her sister scores a goal.

Driscoll said that the possibility of creating conflict by putting sisters on the same team was considered during tryouts. “But we could tell even during preseason that we weren’t going to have any real issues with these pairs. They get along well. There is no competition between sisters,” Driscoll said.

Of course, the friendly sisterly torment doesn’t stop just because they are on the field. “It’s fun to tell embarrassing stories about her to the other girls,” Claire said.

Even with the jokes and the occasional bicker, these sisters can all agree that having the help and the love of family on their team is worth it.

“The support is great, and I feel like I always have her to talk about something I wouldn’t say to just any player,” Elizabeth said.