To get ready for the Three Rivers League (TRL) division games to end the season, wlhsNOW staff hosted a womens soccer media day, which included portraits in the photo studio and individual interviews with the players, not to mention home opener photos. Scroll below to see each starter’s profile, which explains each starters’ backstory and individual outlook on the rest of the season.
To get ready for the Three Rivers League (TRL) division games to end the season, wlhsNOW staff hosted a womens soccer media day, which included portraits in the photo studio and individual interviews with the players, not to mention home opener photos. Scroll below to see each starter’s profile, which explains each starters’ backstory and individual outlook on the rest of the season.
Joseph Murphy

Getting to know the 2023 womens soccer team

Last year concluded in a second place finish for the womens soccer team. Having lost in the 6A OSAA State Championship to the Jesuit Crusaders, the team is looking to get back right where they left off. Ava Johnson, senior, will try to be a part of the equation.

“I think it’s been a really good fit with me and Kate [Cheldelin] and Caitlin [Schrek] in the midfield,” Johnson said. “We pass the ball really well together and we have good forwards as well.”

As of September 29, the womens soccer team is ranked 20th in the state, according to OSAA, despite starting the season ranked third in state.

However, going into league play, the womens soccer team is looking to finish the second half of the season strong, trying to meet last year’s results and beyond. Myrtle Guarisco, senior, is the starting center back for the team.

“Making state, it was like seeing all the fruits of our labor and all of the work we put in throughout the season come into this culminating point where we could acknowledge as a team and with everyone watching like, this is how hard we worked,” Gaurisco said. “We made it this far, this is the caliber of the soccer that we play. This is how far we’ve come this season, and we are here to give it our all.” 

To get ready for the Three Rivers League (TRL) division games to end the season, wlhsNOW staff hosted a womens soccer media day, which included portraits in the photo studio and individual interviews with the players, not to mention home opener game photos. Scroll below to see each starter’s profile, which explains their backstories and individual outlooks on the rest of the season.

Myrtle Guarisco
Myrtle Guarisco

Myrtle Guarisco, senior, is the starting center back. As a senior, she feels an obligation to her teammates, and works to help the team succeed.

“I feel like it’s my responsibility and the responsibility of all the seniors to make sure that we’re holding everyone to a high standard of play, a high standard of effort, and a high standard of attitude,” Guarisco said. “It’s really important for the success of our team that we were all on the same page on and off the field.”

While she admits it is a hard job, it is one she does with joy. 

“It’s definitely a little daunting at first,” Guarisco said. “But now that we’re kind of getting into the season, I think all of the seniors and myself have really stepped up to the position and I’ve really enjoyed seeing the people that I’ve gone to school with and played soccer with realize their ability as leaders.”

Guarisco has been playing soccer since she was a toddler. She has pursued her sport for over a decade.

“I started playing soccer when I was three or four,” Guarisco said. “Just as long as I can remember I’ve been playing soccer.”

Guarisco isn’t the only person in her family to enjoy soccer.

“When I played [recreational soccer] my dad was my coach, which was a lot of fun,” Guarisco said. “He would play a bunch of silly games with all of my friends. I just really liked having that experience with my dad and getting to like having fun with all of my friends.” 

Last year, she went with the team to state. The team placed second in Oregon last year, and are going for gold this year. 

“Making state, it was like seeing all the fruits of our labor and all of the work we put in throughout the season come into this culminating point where we could acknowledge as a team and with everyone watching like, this is how hard we worked,” Gaurisco said. “We made it this far, this is the caliber of the soccer that we play. This is how far we’ve come this season, and we are here to give it our all.”

Kate Cheldelin
Kate Cheldelin

Returning captain, Kate Cheldelin, senior, has various responsibilities on the team.

“I definitely plan a lot, I run our Instagram and do team bonding stuff. I really want to repeat last season and go all the way,” Cheldelin said. “I definitely feel like we have a chance, we’re talented and I feel like I need to step into a role as a leader on and off the field too.”

This will be her third year on the varsity team. She began playing the sport before she was in kindergarten, and last year she played a role in helping her team get to the finals. 

“I scored the game winning goal in the semis and quarter finals last year to [get] us to the final,” Cheldelin said. 

To maintain her leadership role, Cheldelin focuses on building strong connections within the team and keeping her teammates motivated. 

“I think our team chemistry is our biggest critical point for our team. Last year— that’s why we went so far,” Cheldelin said. “This year, our focus is our team chemistry. And I think as the seasons progressed it’s been good. We’ve had a ton of events as a team and it’s really helped us bond.”

Cheldelin originally moved to Oregon during COVID-19 so she could be closer to the University of Washington (UW), which is where she plans to go to college.

“I’m committed to play at [UW], and I play on the Thorns Academy ECNL, so hopefully after college I’d go back and play pro there,” Cheldelin said. “We’ll see how college goes, but that’s my goal.”

Before a game, Cheldelin is a DJ in the locker room. 

“We do a locker room pre-game and it’s actually from my phone,” Cheldelin said. “We really like Ski, and Sexyy Red and all those [artists]. It kind of changes on the day, [we like] any rap.”

Josie Pothast
Josie Pothast

Returning for her second year on varsity, Josie Pothast is a senior. Her father influenced her to begin her journey with soccer, but as she continued to play, Pothast’s teammates and passion for the sport stuck with her.

“I continue playing now just because I’ve made a lot of friendships in it,” Pothast said. “I think it’s really fun, I love having our team lunches and our ‘secret sister’ that we do.”

Pothast plays for the school and a club team, Oregon Premier FC. On the varsity team, she plays outside defense and winger. Her experience with the club team combined with her role has helped train her abilities.

“Our high school coach saw my speed and wanted to put me on the outside,” Pothast said. “I told her that I have played defender in the past, so she kind of combined that. I really like it, there is a lot of running, but I enjoy being able to help in defense as well but also take them off the field and get an assist.”

Off the field, Pothast provides insight to the team with her seniority and her position on the field.

“Being a senior, I can kind of serve a bit of a leadership role with the underclassmen,” Pothast said. “I’m not a captain, but as I’m on the field I want to help everyone and put them in the right position and direct them to be as successful as possible.”

With years of experience in soccer, Pothast has created a consistent routine for herself before her games. This includes pre-game meals, outfits, and songs.

“I eat pasta, a lot of the time, before games like with pesto. That’s been a thing. I always wear a yellow bow or green bow in my hair,” Pothast said.. “Song wise, it is a lot of Drake and Kanye. [The team] always listens to ‘Nonstop’ by Drake as we’re walking out of the lockers.”

Pothast provides personal advice for student athletes who wish to join the varsity team.

“Work as hard as possible, especially during practice, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes as long as you can make them up,” Pothast said. “I know when I was on JV sophomore year, I was always I had to do everything [perfectly] and I was afraid of messing up. And that’s when you start to get in your head.”

Aimee Sorenson
Aimee Sorenson

Aimee Sorenson, freshman, joined the varsity team this year. Soccer has been a part of her life since the age of three, when she first started playing recreational soccer.

“[Soccer] just brings me so much joy to see how much I’ve grown,” Sorenson said. “I just really like the sport in general. I feel like I wouldn’t want to play any other sport.”

Sorenson plays left fullback for the team. However, when she was younger she played center back.

“I guess my coaches thought it was best for me to play outside because I can go up the field,” Sorenson said. “I like it. I can attack and defend at the same time.”

With her entire high school career ahead of her, she hopes to give support to the team moving forward.

“I’m hoping to provide leadership and just be a good teammate to my teammates and build our culture to my team,” Sorenson said.

Playing at a collegiate level is one of Sorenson’s goals, along with pursuing soccer as a career.

“I hope that I can hopefully get recognized and just keep playing varsity,” Sorenson said.


Nyamma Nelson
Nyamma Nelson

Beginning her third year on varsity, Nyamma Nelson, junior, plays goalkeeper for the varsity team. 

Nelson started playing the position when one of her previous coaches suggested that she should attend more practices as a goalkeeper.

“I just really loved it. I love the thrill of jumping, you’re basically flying,” Nelson said. “Nobody else knows that, but like, I feel like I’m flying every single time I dive.”

As a goalkeeper, Nelson can see more of the field than her teammates can. She uses this as a tool to help her team. 

“I use my ability to guide the people on my team to help them keep their shape, make sure they’re defending someone, stuff like that,” Nelson said. “You’re running on the field for like 90 minutes. Sprinting, jogging, walking, whatever you’re doing, it’s mentally hard.”

With each new season comes new players on the team. After the seniors graduate, empty spots are waiting to be filled.

“There are very, very talented people out here,” Nelson said. “I feel like a lot of people were worried because we lost a lot of seniors, so a lot of talent that we had to replace. I feel like we did it very well with the freshmen coming in.”

Nelson advises that players looking to earn a spot on varsity should focus on their issues, and fix them with repetition. 

“Honestly, if something doesn’t work, fix it,” Nelson said. “How else are you gonna fix your little issues if you don’t put time into them?”

In the near future, Nelson plans to attend college for soccer in Illinois.

“Well, I just committed to Northwestern University,” Nelson said. “I’m excited. I don’t know how to feel, there’s a lot of feelings going on.”

Nelson’s hard work has been encouraged by her mom, who pushed her to do good in the sport.

“I mean, my mom’s always pushed me to be the best,” Nelson said. “She said, if you’re going to do the sport, you’re not going to do it halfway.”


Kylee Schrek
Kylee Schrek

Playing since 2014, Kylee Schrek, sophomore, was first put into soccer by her mom. Eventually, Schrek began taking the next step in her joy with soccer.

“I enjoyed soccer a lot and I was [playing recreational soccer], and it was getting kind of easy,” Schrek said. “Everyone was leaving and I didn’t really have that much fun because I was playing low level people. So I was thinking [of going] competitive [to] play better people and get better.”

Schrek has always played attacking forward. Last year, she started on the varsity team as a freshman.

“My role is just attacking the defense and getting up the ball. Shooting and scoring, and getting my team wins,” Schrek said.

Also last year, Schrek was put on the 6A OSAA All-State second team. She hopes to continue her personal success this season.

“I want to have better stats than my freshman year,” Schrek said. “That’s a personal goal that I have. [Also] connecting more with my teammates and going to [the state championship].”

To get up the field and score goals, Schrek likes to perform the scissors move.

“I like to do [scissors] and get past people like that,” Schrek said. “[Usually,] you go this way but you’ve moved on [the other] way.”

Also to get up field, Schrek likes to emulate Sophia Smith, a professional soccer player for the Portland Thorns.

“She’s really good,” Schrek said. “Her first year on the Thorns she played really well, so I want to be like her.”

Bernice Wayland
Bernice Wayland

Team captain Bernice Wayland, senior, has been on the varsity team for three years. Moving into her senior year, Wayland is setting her focus on becoming a leader  for her team.

“I think [tryouts] went really good. I felt like the team came together nicely and I kind of saw what the team is gonna be and I got really excited,” Wayland said. “They were more stressful this year than last year, for me at least, because I was trying to step into more of a leadership role.”

One of the ways Wayland is able to display her leadership on the field is through her position. Playing center back allows her to see the field fully and be a better captain.

“I started off playing outside back,” Wayland said. “But I felt like I would like to organize the field better in the middle, and  I was just more influential in the center.”

Another thing that playing center back allows Wayland to do is to help control the flow of the game.

“I want [our team] to be built better out of the back and be more comfortable, because I know that was a really good part of last year that helped us calm the game down,” Wayland said. “Having a good backline is really good, and vital for keeping the game under control.”

With it being her last year of high school, Wayland is trying to leave a lasting impression on her team. 

“I hope to have both more relationships and to sort of leave my mark and have people remember me and keep talking about me [after I graduate],” Wayland said. “When I was a sophomore on varsity, I looked up to like the other center back that I used to play with and she was a senior, and I still talk about her today.”

Caitlin Schrek
Caitlin Schrek

Caitlin Schrek, sophomore, is an attacker for the women’s soccer team. She has been playing soccer since she was five, and wants to continue playing an attack position for the rest of her high school soccer career. 

Schrek’s goal this year is to help the freshman on varsity, since she was in the same place last year.

“I just like being helpful for the freshman since I know what they are going through,” Schrek said. “We lost some really good seniors, so I really want to step up and play like how they played last year and make it to state again.”

Schrek looked up to Meg DeVall. She was a teammate who graduated last year. She offers advice to freshmen trying out for varsity this year. 

“Just be confident in your skills and push yourself and keep on trying and never give up.”  Schrek said.

One of her inspirations in professional soccer is Lindsey Horan, former Thorns player.

“I really like [her] on the U.S. team. I love going to Thorns games so I used to watch her play,” Schrek said. 

Last year, the team made it to state, which was one of Schrek’s favorite memories. However, on a more personal level, her goal is to make it on the Three Rivers League first team for womens soccer this year.

Janina Kraetschmer
Janina Kraetschmer

Janina Kraetschmer, senior, started playing soccer in kindergarten and has been playing ever since. Kraetschmer plays center defense on the womens soccer team, and this season will be her second year on varsity. 

“Being a senior, it’s definitely a role of just showing responsibility and leadership, holding people accountable for their actions and working hard all the time,” Kraetschmer said. 

She has been working with her fellow teammates to organize events and team bonding activities, like team dinners. She hopes to continue these events throughout the season. 

“One of my favorite memories was probably when my soccer team won the state championship in 2016,” Kraetschmer said. “I had broken my arm so I couldn’t play the last game, But it was just such good vibes. The team came together. We were so young, so we didn’t fully understand the meaning of it at all. But it was just such a good year and I loved that season.”

However, a more recent memory for Kraetschmer was the most recent tryouts. 

“Seeing the new players come together with the returners, and all work together and I could already see how the team was going to play out,” Kraetschmer said. “It was just a really cool experience to have.”

She believes that as a returning senior, her job is to help lead the team. 

“I feel like a lot of people think that when you make a mistake it’s over,” Kraestchmer said. “But if you work hard to come back from the mistakes you make, then everything is okay.”

When she is in college next year, Kraetschmer plans to play club soccer while she gets a biology or STEM degree.

Ava Johnson
Ava Johnson

A seasoned soccer player since the age of three, Ava Johnson, senior, is a captain this year. To get to this point, Johnson moved from Colorado, thereby joining the varsity team last year. Also last year, Johnson was on the All-Three Rivers League second team as a forward.

“It’s been great,” Johnson said. “This school is a lot better at soccer than my old high school was. My old high school was good, we won our league. But we never really did great when we got to [the playoffs]. I think the furthest we made it was the [round of 16]. I think it’s been a great transition and it’s been for the better, to be honest. It’s been so much fun and way more enjoyable for me.”

In addition to playing high school soccer, Johnson enjoys playing on her Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) club team.

“It’s a lot more intense than high school soccer,” Johnson said. “[At West Linn], we do a lot of conditioning, a lot of drill work like technical wise, which I think is good, but with club you have to do that on your own.”

Club soccer has put Johnson through experiences that challenged not only her playing, but her lifestyle. 

“You’re trying to get seen by colleges so it’s just very go, go, go,” Johnson said. “ My junior year, there was a stretch of time where I was in a hotel room four weekends in a row in different states. And it’s just one of those things where it’s really tiring, but it’s also really fulfilling when you get what you want out of it.”

While on the field, Johnson is known to not have an “off-switch”, according to her teammates and coaches. To begin this season, Johnson was ruled out for a game with a concussion and was held out the next game for precautionary reasons.

“I feel like that’s one thing I’m kind of known for, having no off switch,” Johnson said. “I love listening to music, and I love getting pumped up before games, and that’s what I look forward to  all week. I think you have to really enjoy what you’re doing to get really pumped up for it. But also, I just [have] never been the person who just doesn’t play hard. I’ve never known anything else besides playing 110% all the time.”

Cassidy Harding
Cassidy Harding

Having been on varsity since her freshman year, Cassidy Harding, junior, has been playing soccer since she could walk. Moving into her third year on varsity, Harding is stepping into more of a leadership role on the team.

“I definitely feel more of a leader this year, as I’m an upperclassman,” Harding said. “So, [I want to] be a leader on the field and off the field, putting in the work outside of high school practice.”

Being one of the starting forwards on the team, Harding has been putting extra time into the team outside of practice. 

“I’ve started practicing with more private trainers and then doing a lot of conditioning,” Harding said. “That’s one thing I’ve been trying to improve on.”

While preparing for games, players may have rituals that they go through to put themselves in a good headspace.

“I just listened to Kate’s playlist that has Drake on it,” Harding said. “I’ve always been eating a grilled cheese sandwich before games. I mean, I had that the first game that I scored, so I had it the last two games.” 

Other than her coaches, Harding has always looked up to Portland Thorns player Alex Morgan. Since she was a kid, she has watched Morgan’s gameplay and mimicked it on the field. 

“I’ve always looked up to Alex Morgan ever since I was beginning to play soccer,” Harding said. “I saw her as a little girl and I’ve been obsessed with her ever since.”

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