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Numbers don’t tell Myers’ story

Placer grad’s selfless play in the midfield a key for playoff-hungry Wolverines
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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A soccer player’s value to her team isn’t always apparent on paper. Rachel Myers is proof positive of that. The Placer High graduate has not scored a goal for Sierra College (6-5-2) this season and has assisted on just two in 14 matches. Still, according to Wolverines coach Jason Gantt, Myers’ contributions can’t always be quantified statistically. “She does a lot of defensive work for us,” Gantt said. “She’s fairly fit and can play box-to-box – she covers a lot of ground for us. She gets to a lot of loose balls and wins a lot of (slide) tackles that help us go back (on offense). She does a lot of work that doesn’t show up in the stats.” Some of that has to do with the position Myers plays. “I love being a center midfielder,” the sophomore said. “It’s always been my favorite position, I think. It’s a lot of running, but I get a lot of touches throughout the game. “Every role is important — defense, midfielder, forward — but I think being a center midfielder plays to my strengths, ball-handling and distributing the ball.” Myers’ willingness to do the not-so-glamorous work is only part of what makes her so valuable in Gantt’s eyes. Myers’ work ethic, leadership skills and passion for soccer are all major reasons why Gantt called it “a no-brainer” to name her a team captain before the season started. “She’s devastated after a loss, and after a win she’s grinning ear-to-ear,” the coach said. “She’s infectious — people feed off her joy, and that has an effect on the team’s success. She’s the first to run up to a teammate to celebrate after a goal and the first to lift someone up after they make a mistake. That’s a great quality to have in a team captain.” Gantt is the second coach Myers has had during her time at Sierra. The first, Emmy Barr, played professionally in the now-defunct Women’s United Soccer Association and was also a member of the U.S. women’s national team. “The main thing I learned from Emmy is that work ethic is a big part of soccer,” Myers said. “Always work hard, and your work will give you results.” Myers started passing that lesson on to her teammates during the summer, when Gantt held a summer soccer class for his players. Gantt would often find Myers at Sierra lifting weights at 6 a.m., and Myers often got after her teammates to make sure they came to the class as well. “She just carries herself that way,” Gantt said. “The other girls respect her work ethic because she’s doing what she’s asking (of them). They’re willing to follow her that way.” Myers hopes to play for The Master’s College, a Christian school in Santa Clarita, next season. Before then, however, she hopes to lead Sierra from fifth place in the Big 8 Conference to a California Community College Athletic Association playoff berth. The Wolverines are 3-3-3 in conference play with five regular-season matches remaining. “If we step up our play, I definitely think we can go to the playoffs,” Myers said.