Coach Lisa McNamara shoots for a winning season with girls soccer


Credit: Emma Zocco

Wayland girls varsity soccer team huddles at the start of their game against Boston Latin on Sep. 21. The team currently holds a 4-3 record with a recent loss to Billerica Memorial on Saturday Sep. 24.

Bella Schreiber

With fall sports in full swing, it’s important to recognize more than just the players on each team. This fall, Wayland High School’s girls varsity soccer team has hired a new coach, Lisa McNamara.

Wayland girls varsity soccer welcomed McNamara to its family for the first time this season, however this is not her first time coaching the warriors – McNamara spent the prior season coaching the Wayland girls junior varsity team. Last season varsity ended with a record of four wins, nine losses and one tie. With a new coach bringing in a new perspective, the team hopes to end with a better record, starting this season with four wins and three losses.

“My goals are to rebuild the program and be competitive within our division to win as many games as possible,” McNamara said. “I want to form the strongest team with the best athletes on the field.”

Before the 2021 season, McNamara coached a college team for three years in addition to coaching youth soccer. Due to her past experience with college ball, the team was optimistic she would be able to bring an intensity that many on the team could use to push themselves to be better players.

“I think she has a more modern style of coaching [compared to our past coaches], so I think her drills are a little bit more beneficial for the way we play,” varsity captain junior Lily Mele said. “She makes us do more conditioning which is great because it’s obviously very beneficial in the long run.”

McNamara expresses that she aims to make the most of each and every practice. The team has the same general plan on most days, but she adjusts conditioning to the proper amount for that day. On days prior to a game, the team will go a little lighter on conditioning and focus more on specific skills and drills. The goal of this is for each player to have a chance to perfect what they are struggling with and not be too sore for the game the next day.

“Practice always starts with a lap around the field, a warm up and stretching circle,” sophomore Maeve Moran said. “Then we do a few different things like shuttle lines while passing and volleying, five vs. two rondos, shooting drills, possession games and a few more drills.”

All possible practices are designed to elevate the playing of each girl, no matter what they might struggle with. A major objective for the bulk of the team is to make it to playoffs, as well as beat some of the teams that were far out of reach last season. In order to do this, players feel that each and every person must put their best foot forward each day on and off the field.

“I think one bigger change this year is that all of the teams – freshmen, JV and varsity – are much more connected as a program and not separated as just freshmen, just JV and just varsity,” Mele said. “Coach Lisa is so much more connected to our lives [compared to our past coaches]. We can gossip with her, have fun with her and she loves goofing around with us at times.”

In order to make it to the playoffs and accomplish their goals, the team feels that it needs to learn how to successfully play together. Many feel that one of the best ways to connect on the field is to also connect off the field. Many feel that having a good coach and player relationship, as well as bonding across every team in the program should boost their playing.

“Bonding early in the season as a team has already helped us on and off the field,” McNamara said. “I have my top 11 players on the field and am fortunate to have subs who can step right into the position of a starter. I’m really trying to connect with each player as a person and coach and provide a safe and fun environment on the field.”

The players feel that it is important to have a coach who puts in the effort to get to know not just the starters, but each player on their team. Especially with a newer coach, many feel that taking the step to make sure that each player knows they can openly communicate with her is essential for their team to succeed.

“I want to make playoffs and have a winning season,” Moran said. “It’s also important for me to feel like the team is bonded.”

Looking forward to the rest of the 2022 season, the team is anticipating playing more tough teams which will force them to play to the best of their abilities. Their next game is home on Friday, Sept. 29, against Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

“I’m excited for the rest of the games and getting the town program involved with the high school girls,” coach Lisa said. “I love watching the girls succeed and play well on the field every day. I’m looking forward to making it to postseason play.”