Coaches lead boys’ and girls’ soccer teams


During the Altoona vs Hollidaysburg, Hollidaysburgs number 16 steals the ball to take it back down the field. The team supports each other with their hardworking team work in getting the ball around the field.

“To me, soccer is more than a ball and two goals, it connects people from all corners of the world.” -McKenzie Turner.

This is definitely true for the seventh and eighth grade players on the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams.

The boys’ and girls’ soccer teams kicked off their season with the assistance of the boys’ team coaches, Coach Patrick McDowell and Coach Dave Holton, followed by the girls’ team coaches Coach Dorothy Helsel and Coach Ralph Winterburn.

Helsel expressed how she feels the season is going for the girls’ soccer team,

“We have had a winning season this year, so the season is going great.  We have a record right now of 10-4-2, so we have ten wins on the season, and we have one more game on Monday. I’m expecting we’ll win that as well.  So we’ve had a great season,”  Helsel said.

“This is my first year of coaching soccer, I did coach AYSO when my daughter was really young, so I do have some experience there, but I have never taught at a competitive secondary level.  So this is my first experience,”  she said.

Soccer runs in the family for Helsel.

“I come from a family of coaches, my husband is actually a big baseball coach, he runs a baseball organization, and my son is a baseball player so I’ve been around coaching from a long time.”

Coach Helsel told us that if she ever gets this opportunity again, she would absolutely take it.

The girls’ soccer team also has been attending many away games.   The girls attend practice weekly.  When they have home games they are held at the Roosevelt Field, typically after school.  They play against many different districts and attend other games at those districts as well.  Coach Helsel and coach Winterburn attend all the games with the girls’, away and home.

Coach Helsel feels her team stands out among school soccer teams.

“I think the team spirit that we have makes our team stand out from the others. We all get along really well, coaches, players and players with each other so I would have to say our team spirit and our team chemistry is what makes us stand out from the others. ”

Coach Helsel also shared with us her personal view on coaching the age division based off of seventh and eighth grade players.

“I love coaching seventh and eighth graders.  They’re lots of fun, tons of energy, eager to learn, seventh and eighth graders are really great to coach,”Helsel said.

The boys’ record for this season is 6-7-3.

Coach McDowell has high hopes for the season.

“I’m hoping we’ll break five hundred,” he said.

“I feel we’ve come a long way, we started out a little weak and started out a little timid, but now we’re playing a lot stronger than we use to,” Coach McDowell

Coach McDowell and Coach Holton  also are a part of all of the boys’ soccer games, home and away.  The boys’ games are also usually held at the Roosevelt field directly after school.  The boys travel to many away games throughout the season and still have more yet to come.

McDowell is not new to coaching.

 “Since 1998  so about fifteen years,”he said.

He feels that his team stands out from the other teams because they are “goofy.”

He loves coaching that age division, and getting to be active in their young lives as soccer athletes.

“I’ll keep going as long as we can,” McDowell said.

Coach McDowell has had experience with soccer in the past.

“Yeah, I played back when it was before AYSO department rec… I played that.  Then I played a little bit of outer team, not with the high school  team but with outside teams outside of school.  That’s about it.  I worked out with the soccer team at Penn State… but I wasn’t on the team, but I did have some experiences from that,” McDowell said.

The soccer season is almost over for the year, but  not for the futures ahead of these young soccer players.