The Ultimate Teammate

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Lauren Burkle

By Kale Merrill

No matter what the sport is, a team’s chemistry is always improved by having a teammate who can be a leader and inspire others, but also be a lighthearted, fun, and encouraging person. For Mount Vernon girls soccer, that teammate is sophomore Lauren Burkle.

Her path towards varsity soccer all started in kindergarten parks and recreation, where Burkle found her passion for soccer. She decided she wanted to give it a try since her older brother, Sam Murray (‘17), played on a team. “When I was little I wanted to do everything my brother did,” said Burkle, “and soccer was one sport we could play together.” But shortly thereafter she found she truly loved the sport in her own way. Burkle discovered how much fun she was having with her friends.

Her middle school years passed and the passion for soccer was still there. Last spring Burkle, as a freshman, decided to go out for the girl’s soccer team.

Burkle described the grind of her first season as “a long preseason with lots of yelling. Games progress in intensity and seriousness as state approaches; the season can be very tiring.” But Burkle and her team push through that. “It’s cool to see what our team could accomplish by putting in work,” she said. She maintained her focused and determined attitude throughout all those 5-6 practices and games per week.

Soccer, as most people know, is a sport with a lot of running. Burkle said that after a practice last year the team went on a run, and one of her teammate’s watches told them they had run almost seven miles that day. She also shared they do field sprints or shorter runs after every practice. She prepares for conditioning with consistent workouts. “I do my best to stay in shape during the offseason,” she said.

A very serious and focused approach is taken to each practice. But on game days a different atmosphere encompasses the team. “We like to have fun, bus rides are full of pump up music which continues into pregame warmups.” Burkle’s goals for the season remain clear. Make state. “We have good underclassmen, and we should be able to improve off of last year, I think we can definitely make it this year.”

Burkle’s passion for the game is still there because she loves the team aspect of soccer. She described the reason she keeps playing soccer as, “being able to spend time with my friends, and have fun”. But not only does Burkle have fun, she puts in work too. Her coach said this about Burkle’s play, “Lauren is the kind of player every coach wants on the team. She is a utility player and willing to go where her team needs her. Her willingness to be a team player makes her an asset. Even if she’s uncomfortable playing somewhere, it doesn’t stop her from playing her best and getting the job done.”

Not only does Burkle thrive as a valuable player, she is, more importantly, a great teammate and leader. “Lauren is an outstanding teammate,” Coach Murray said, “Lauren might not know it, but she is a leader. The girls listen to her and respect her.  Positive players have a big impact on a team and create a fun atmosphere and cohesive chemistry. We are lucky to have her.”

Burkle truly represents what it means to be a team player and the ultimate teammate.