Oregon soccer busts a move to stay energized

If you were to head over to Papé Field for an Oregon soccer match, it would be hard not to notice that the team has skills.

Not just the skills that come with being Division I soccer players, but in their dance moves.

As today’s rap hits and some oldies blare out of the sound system, the Oregon soccer team enjoys a pre-game dancing ritual.

While it may not be what you would see at a ballet or a dance competition, senior Shanelle Simien is quick to point out that the team danced its way to a win in the student-athlete talent show last year, known as the Golden Duck.

“In sports, everyone has different ways to get pumped up for games. We like to dance,” Simien said. “That’s just how we get our energy and that’s how we get excited for the game.

The pre-game dancing ritual is something that started fairly recently. Senior Ryann Davie believes it started with her best friend and former teammate Achijah Berry.

“We would listen to music and once one person started dancing, everyone would start dancing,” Davie said.

Senior Lilly Archer finds that the team’s pre-game fun really helps when it comes time to play.

“It kinda just takes the pressure off,” Archer said. “These Pac-12 games and every single game is so important and so crucial, there is a lot riding on every game and because there is a lot of pressure – nerves come into it a lot. I definitely get nervous before a game, so I think it helps all of us to come together be goofy, be loose and just have fun.”

The tradition is not just something that the team does at home games. According to Davie, the team tries to implement the same routine on the road.

“Every time before the game we have certain songs that pumped us up and bring the energy,” Davie said. “That happened on the Arizona State trip which was really cool… Our energy transcended immediately on the field during the first half.”

The Ducks were able to hold the No. 18 Sun Devils to a 1-1 draw and produced one of their best offensive performances so far this season.

Although all three seniors point out that the dancing may cause their opponents to question their seriousness, the team and coaches know that it is the key to bringing the group together. The goofiness and laid-back pre-game environment allows for the team to be comfortable with each other.

“The fact that we all feel comfortable enough to have people laugh at us and laugh at ourselves shows us we are all comfortable with each other,” Archer said. “It brings that extra set of confidence — like I am going to have this girl’s back when she goes into a tackle just like we are going to dance together and go crazy. It’s a trust thing. We all trust each other enough to have fun.”

Although it is up for debate on who the best dancer on the team is, one thing for certain is that the Ducks’ soccer team plans on continuing to bust a move.

“If we are not dancing, not laughing and not having a good time — then something is wrong,” Simien said.

Follow Beth Maiman on Twitter @bethamaiman

Read more here: http://dailyemerald.com/2014/10/13/oregon-soccer-busts-a-move-to-stay-energized/
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