The Baldwin School soccer team is off to a 6-0 start (as of Monday) and one of the key reasons is junior center midfielder/forward Rachel White, the Polar Bears’ creative play maker in midfield. As of Monday, she had four goals and four assists. Against host Westtown School, with the score tied 1-1, White dribbled past two Westtown defenders and unleashed a rocket from 20 yards out that hit the post and went into the net. A few minutes later, she beat three defenders and set up a teammate in the box for the insurance goal in a 3-1 win. Baldwin head coach Adrian Cox said, “Rachel is a dynamic and creative attacking central midfielder and forward who can beat multiple defenders off the dribble. She often is marked by the opposing team’s top defenders and still manages to find space to get the ball, eliminate defenders, pass to an open teammate and release shots when under pressure. Rachel has the ability to take over games and make big plays in big moments. Rachel is highly coachable and respected by her teammates. She plays with passion and is always having fun on and off the field with her teammates. She is having a breakout season so far and is emerging as a leader and I can’t wait to see what she will do in upcoming Inter-Ac League games and the post season.”
Q: Your team is off to a 6-0 start, best start in Baldwin soccer history. You’ve been a varsity starter for the Polar Bears since eighth grade – what do you feel has been the key(s) to the team’s rapid improvement this season?
A: The rapid improvement this season is from the girls on the team and Coach Cox. All the girls on the team are hard workers and dedicated to the game. We are all friends and easily learned the way one another plays. Coach Cox pushes us to give everything we’ve got but also knows when we need time off to recover. He made sure we were fit in preseason with a lot of running. Coach Cox is a great coach who has a deep passion and love for the game which he loves to share with his players.
Q: While your team has outscored its opponents 19-1 so far, it also has shown the ability to win close games, including wins against Shipley (1-0), Friends’ Central (1-0) and Westtown (3-1). What has been your most vivid memory of the season to date – if it’s a key play, can you describe how the play unfolded, and your role in it?
A: My most vivid memory this season was the game against Westtown. We just had a game the evening before so we were all a little sore. After the first half goes by, we were down 1-0. We weren’t connecting passes and nothing seemed to go our way. We stepped onto the field to start the second half, and from that moment on, the whole momentum of the game changed. Celia [Page] passed a through ball to Gia [Vicari], who scored to tie the game 1-1. We knew we could still do better and improve our play. Soon after, Kahlaa [Cannady] played me a ball in the air when I was switched to play center forward. I got the ball, beat two players and cut into the middle and took a shot. The shot hit off of the side post and went in. We were then 2-1 up. We still knew we had more in ourselves. I then dribbled and played a ball to Jen [Dietrich] who scored, and we won the game 3-1. Everyone’s hard work and determination paid off. Once we were down 1-0, we did NOT start playing as individuals like many teams do. We stuck together and got the win as a team.
Q: Coach Cox said you are the team’s “creative play-maker in midfield.” As the team’s center midfielder, what do you think are the biggest keys to creative play-making from midfield?
A: The biggest keys are knowing when to pass and also when to dribble.
Q: Coach Cox also lauds your ability to shoot from distance. What do you feel is the key(s) to successful long-range shooting?
A: Practice. Practice has definitely helped to improve my long distance shooting.
Q: What do you think is the strongest aspect of your game? What part of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: The strongest aspects of my game are seeing the field and making plays, but also knowing when to dribble and take players on myself. I am still working on my foot skills, and being in optimal physical shape.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.
A: My pre-game preparation consist of getting a good night’s sleep, having a good breakfast and lunch, and thinking about what improvements I need to make to help the team succeed. During the pre-game warm-up we play loud music which helps to get everyone pumped up.
Q: Who have been your biggest soccer mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each one?
A: My mom has been a big soccer mentor for me over the years. She might not know the most about soccer, but she was a real athlete growing up. When she comes to my games, she makes sure I don’t give up on any 50-50 balls and always give 1,000 percent. She has shown me many important lessons through the game of soccer such as being a leading and not a follower. My mom has taught me that persistence is everything, and that hard work and dedication will pay off.
Q: You want to play soccer for a college program. What colleges are among your current favorites? What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: Some colleges I like are Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, and Richmond. I think I want to become a surgeon later on in life or do something in the medical field.
Q: Do you participate in any other sports or extracurricular activities at Baldwin School? What sparked your interest in each of these activities?
A: At Baldwin, I have participated in various sports including basketball, lacrosse, and softball. Some extracurricular activities I am/have been involved in are Jewish cultural alliance, ASAP, and health and fitness.
Fun facts – Rachel White
Favorite book: To Kill A Mockingbird.
Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy.
Favorite movie: Matilda.
Favorite athlete: Mia Hamm.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Fly.
Favorite team: US Women’s National Team.
Favorite place to visit: The beach.
Favorite pre-game meal: Angel hair pasta.
Favorite colora: Blue, maroon.
Person I most admire: “My grandpa, Richard Sprague, who I admire because of his work ethic and always having time for his grandchildren. This 91-year-old still works every day from the crack of dawn till dusk, but still has time for me if I want to have dinner or sleepover. He is one of the most amazing people I know, and I love him very much.”
Birth date: Oct. 7, 1999 in Philadelphia.
Family members: siblings Jacob (23), Josh (21), Jon (18), Leah (15), and Joey (13).
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)