Freshman standout bolsters varsity team in starting role

Tilly Friedlander

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Ever since she has been old enough to kick a ball, freshman Grace Bouton has excelled as a soccer player. All those years of practice have paid off, and she’s earned herself a spot on the girls’ varsity soccer team, where she has already scored five goals in only ten games for the Giants.

Fifteen-year-old Bouton has proven her skills as a starting center forward on the team, earning herself nearly full playing time by shooting critical game-winning goals.

Varsity soccer coach Mattias Kodzoman said that Bouton already has the potential to be awarded for her skills in her future as a Redwood player.

“I tell my players that if you can play, you can play, whether you are a freshman or a senior. Grace [Bouton] deserves to play on varsity and she’s one heck of a player. She has all the attributes to be a [Marin County Athletic League] Player of the Year farther down the road,” Kodzoman said.

According to Bouton, although she may feel nervous at times, she enjoys playing at a high level against school rivals.

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Exceeding at soccer practice, freshman Grace Bouton passes the ball.

“[Being a freshman on varsity] is definitely intimidating, especially at first, and kind of scary being with all the older people, but it’s pretty fun to play against different high schools,” Bouton said.

According to Kodzoman, Bouton is always looking to improve despite her already high level.

“[Bouton] has pace, she has good skills with the ball, has a nose for the goal, a great attitude and she always works hard. Although a very good player, she has an attitude of a player that always wants to improve, so you never have to tell her to work harder,” Kodzoman said.  

According to soccer player junior Lauren Bell, who has been on varsity since her freshman year, the goal Bouton scored during their game against Branson was the most vital shot of the season, as that win gave the team its second place spot in MCAL.

“We were up just by 2-1, and that’s the most dangerous lead to have in a soccer game because it can so easily be broken. So [Bouton’s] third goal was vital and it was such an amazing shot. It gave us the lead we needed to win,” Bell said.

There were 15 minutes left in the game when Bouton scored, giving the Giants the confidence they needed to pull out the win.

Bouton has been on a club soccer team that is one year above her own age group since she was nine.

Bell has played with Bouton since Bouton was in sixth grade and Bell was in eighth grade, and the two have developed a very close friendship. According to Bell, Bouton has made a remarkable transition onto varsity as a freshman.

“This is her first year on Redwood and she’s been so successful. It’s been really amazing to watch her transition from a shy little sixth grader to this amazing freshman on varsity who is a major asset to the team,” Bell said.

Bouton prefers high school soccer games over club soccer games, as she thrives on the competition of playing against her friends.

“I think high school games are more fun because I get to play against people I know and it’s more competitive,” Bouton said. “Our most recent game against Branson was probably one of my favorites because I know a lot of the girls on the team. The center back who guarded me is on my team for club, so it was more fun to play them.”

Bouton hopes to continue playing soccer in college, and aspires to play for a University of California soccer team.