WEST PRICE HILL (FOX19) - It’s been a long time coming for the Western Hills University High School Women’s Soccer Team. The program has been nonexistent for a decade, but now they’re finally back up and running.
It’s news that came to many as a surprise.
“I was very shocked," player Amay Rani said. “I was very excited at first. I was kind of doubting it because every year it would happen, like, they would bring it up, and then no. Then they didn’t have enough girls, so I wasn’t expecting it to happen, and now I’m just very shocked it did.”
Kiya Wilfong is the team’s assistant coach. A West High grad, she says she came to the school having played soccer for much of her life only to find there was no program.
“I was told there was no interest in anything,” Wilfong recalled. “So having it back and being able to actually coach it’s kind of bittersweet.”
Once the school decided to put together a team, the girls and coaches started a GoFundMe page to kick-start the program. They needed money to support the uniforms and the training gear, making sure the Mustangs have shin guards and cleats.
They reached the $2,000 goal last week.
“It’s really good just to help us build the team and make sure we have all the equipment so we have a successful season,” Head Coach Madison Smith said.
Starting back up has been a challenge.
“It’s a lot of pressure, because with our boys, our boys are really good, and so now there’s a standard we have to live up to,” player Carmen Mateo explained.
But the girls say it’s nothing they can’t handle.
“We come here every practice and put in 100 percent because we want to be good, we want to make this team the best it can be,” Mateo said.
“My teacher told me we have a soccer team, and I said I can give it a try,” player Khady Fall said.
Fall moved to the United States from Senegal two years ago. She says being on the team has made her feel like being a part of a family.
“Like the communication, like being together, like, this is my second year in the United States, and my English is not good, so they have all helped me together to fit in with the team,” said Fall.
“I never knew I was going to talk to anyone from here. I never knew I was going to have this real bond connection with everyone," Rani added. “It’s just amazing.”
“I’m so proud. They have come so far and they have grown so much just in the past month. We’ve been able to get this team up and running,” Smith said.
The Mustangs’s first game is 7 p.m. Tuesday against Walnut Hills.