Wildcat strives for excellence academically, athletically

Senior Anna Sours has been juggling academics and soccer. As a senior, she serves as a role model and leader for the underclassmen. Sours was named second team all conference as a freshman and was part of the Academic All-District team.

After spending a semester abroad last spring in Mexico and her summer in Peru, senior Anna Sours is playing in her final soccer season at Linfield. For Sours, soccer hasn’t just been a game of getting the ball in the net. It has been a place to establish long-lasting friendships and an opportunity for personal growth.

When Sours was five years old, her family uprooted from Pittsburg, Pa., and moved to Medford, Ore. She was in the middle of her elementary school years when her parents decided to send her to her first soccer practice. They hoped she would meet new people and make friends in her new town by joining a local soccer team. It was just that for Sours.

“I guess it just kind of stuck, and I’ve been playing ever since,” Sours said via email. “I played on club teams in Southern Oregon all through middle school and high school, and we always had to travel up to Portland to play games on the weekends. It was crazy but so much fun, and I have so many great memories from those days. High school soccer was great too. [I] played for a great coach with all of my best friends.”

It still holds true at Linfield that Sours has the opportunity to compete with some of her closest friends. In addition to Linfield, during her time in Peru and Mexico, Sours was able to use the internationally played game as a way to connect and communicate with the natives.

“One thing that I’ve grown to love about soccer is that it’s played all over the world,” Sours said. “I studied abroad in Mexico last spring and spent the summer in Peru, and I always found the nearest field to play at. It helped me make a lot of friends and see a completely new side to soccer. It’s so international and so cool.”

Not only has soccer been a means for Sours to develop relationships with others, she has become a confident and self-driven individual through competitive play. One teammate, sophomore Ellie Schmidt, is in awe of Sours’ impeccable work ethic and believes her committed attitude is attributable to her success.

“With a leader and upper-classman on the team like Sours, our team should have no problem seeing success this year,” Schmidt said. “She is a relentless encourager and a lot of us look up to her.”

Sixteen years later, Sours has a pretty good feel for the game and her work-ethic.

“It really is a player’s sport—the coaches are there, but ultimately the players get to decide and are completely in control,” Sours said. “Always work hard. Come out every day with the goal of being better than you were the day before, and be willing to put in the effort to do it. Use the coaches: ask them questions, ask for help, tell them what’s going on in your life. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to become a better player, but also, have fun. Love your teammates.”

Sours devotes a lot of time to making herself better, always putting the team before herself and striving to improve as a player. Aside from soccer, she juggles many other hobbies and interests.

“I really enjoy traveling, going to new places and meeting people,” Sours said. “I also enjoy being outside and go for a lot of walks, hiking and that kind of thing. I have a good time cooking, too, when I have time (because I love to eat).”

With such a full workload, you would think she must be overwhelmed. However, she thrives on a full schedule.

“Being a student athlete, I’ve learned that I really enjoy being challenged and having a full schedule,” Sours said. “I do better with time management when I’m busy and actually like having so many things to go to all the time during the season.“

It is no wonder that Sours is successful in other important aspects of her life. Soccer is similar to life for Sours.

“There is so much freedom, fluidity within the game. It’s just constantly moving without stopping or standing around,” Sours said. “It’s also such a player’s game. The coach is there for you, but ultimately you make the decisions and can be creative and have fun with it.”

During her time at Linfield, Sours has collected several awards and letters. Sours is a three-year letter winner. She was named to the All Northwest Conference second team as a freshman, first team as a sophomore and been a part of the CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District team. Sours tributes her accomplishments to luck, however, her love for the game overrides all.

“One other great thing is that it requires so little gear,” Sours said. “You can play pretty much anywhere, as long as you have a ball or something that can be kicked. I got to play a lot when I was studying abroad in Mexico and Peru, and it was literally everywhere there. Pretty awesome. One time I actually saw some kids playing with a plastic bottle for a ball. That’s pure love of the game. So cool.”

Being an upperclassman, Sours hopes to lead the team to an ultimately successful season. She has distinct personal and team goals.

“My goal is to continue improving as a player,” Sours said. “I also want to be a good leader and set a good example through my work on the field, being a good teammate that supports everyone. I want to see the team finish better than we ever have before—that means a first place finish in the conference.“

With such hard-working Wildcats like Sours on the team, these goals should not be too far out of sight.

Sarah Mason/ Staff writer

Sarah Mason can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

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