by Matthew Ondesko. Managing Editor Photos: Geoff Schneider/Sports Union
Raelyn Stranc will tell you she should of have scored. She has the ball on her foot in the second overtime against Clarence with a chance to win the game and kicked it right at the keeper.
After the game, people would go up to her and tell her what a great game she played. Stranc didn’t want to hear it. Her job is to score goals and on this day she didn’t get the job done. Don’t mind the fact that she had a beautiful corner that set up one of the Lancaster goals.
In her mind she needs to score. She is looked upon to lead the team up front. This is why the coaches have so much confidence in her. She scored 12 goals as a sophomore last season, and big things are excepted from her again.
Stranc will deliver, she just didn’t deliver on this day. It wasn’t the playoffs, it was a regular season game. These teams will see each other again.
Being a goal scorer is not an easy job. Many have tried, and many have failed. You need to have the right mentality, and be selfish enough, to be a forward. You need to want the ball at your feet with the game on the line.
Stranc knows there is no better feeling out there then when you lead the team to victory. Scoring goals turns more into a mental thing more than physical. Stranc knows to be at her best she needs to be on top of her game mentally, and then the rest will come.
“There absolutely is a mental aspect to being a goal scorer. To work on the mental side of my game I just try to stay focused before and in every game and do my best to contribute to the result of the game. I just try not to put much pressure on myself,” stated Stranc. “I think that every game is a different scenario and I tend to try and not think about the other games and goals scored. Every team has different strengths and weaknesses and I just do my best to try and contribute to help win the game the best I can. Hopefully with helping to create chances on net and taking some chances to score myself.”
Like most players these days, Stranc has cut her teeth with the Western New York Flash, the premier travel club in Western New York. She has worked tirelessly over the years on her game, and has seen improvement since she joined the Flash seven years ago.
Now, Stranc is playing against some of the best competition in the country and she competes in the ECNL. Being able to take her game up against some of the players in the country has only helped Stranc.
“Everyone on the Flash is so skilled and so good. Being able to train with such amazing coaching and such amazing players has helped me to develop into a great athlete,” stated Stranc. “I have now been playing for the Flash for about 7 years now, and competing in the ECNL for four years. Being able to play with and compete the some of the best has really helped me knowing that I have to constantly give it 100 percent, and be on my A game at all times.”
Stranc’s coaches must have seen something just not in her game, but in her. As a junior, Stranc was named one of the captains of the Legends. It was a big honor that has been bestowed upon her, and one that she doesn’t take lightly.
Being named captain at any level is a a big deal. Stranc has slowly turned into the leader you see in front of you today. She always wasn’t the one yelling encouragement to her teammates. In fact, Stranc was the quiet one. She was the one that put her head down and just grinder day in and day out.
“Now being an upperclassman I think my leadership role has definitely changed. I feel like I have more of a responsibility to try and be a role model to the underclassman and help them with anything they need. I think all the other upperclassman on the team feel the same way as well,” stated Stranc. “I have definitely evolved into more of a leader. I can still remember being on the JV team in seventh grade and being the quietest one on the team. And from there I have just grown. Every year I have tried to become more and more of a leader and role model on and off the field.”
Stranc wanted to make sure she rewarded her coaches by making sure she worked hard during the summer. Sure she scored 12 goals last season, but Stranc isn’t happy. She wants more, she knows she can do more.
That’s why this summer, she worked extra hard on her game. She wanted to make sure sue was in the best shape she could possibly be - especially for those early hot summer-like matches.
Her fitness was on full display when the Legends went to double-overtime against both Williamsville North and Clarence High School. That was 200 minutes in two days and Stranc looked just as fresh as if the game had just started.
“I have been training a ton over the summer with my technical side of the game along with my endurance and my speed of play,” stated Stranc. “Well being chosen as a captain this year really helped my confidence knowing they were looking at me to help lead the team along with the other chosen captains. Then to be put up top was great, knowing that I can help lead the team even more.”
Raelyn Stranc has yet to scratch the surface of her soccer ability. The junior is just coming into her own, and watch out soccer world because she will be the next big thing.