Leading by example: L’Amoreaux excelling at the heart of Wildcats’ attack
FRONT ROYAL – In all of Mike Carpenter’s years of coaching Warren County’s girls soccer team, he’s never had a player quite as team-minded as Courtney L’Amoreaux.
“I know it’s cliché or whatever, but she’s the ideal team player. She really is,” Carpenter said before a recent practice. “She’s the most dedicated player. She’s never missed a practice since eighth grade. Never missed a practice, never missed preseason, never missed anything. She’s always been there and reliable. She’s the person that leads by example. Everybody looks to her.”
And on the soccer field, L’Amoreaux looks toward everybody else.
L’Amoreaux has thrived as the Wildcats’ center-midfielder since joining the varsity team as a freshman back in 2013, showing a knack for finding an opening for that perfect through ball or that perfect diagonal pass to facilitate goal-scoring chances for her Warren County teammates.
As a sophomore last season, L’Amoreaux set a school record for assists in a season with 13. Five games into this season, the junior became Warren County’s career assists leader when she dished out her 20th career assist in a loss to Madison County on March 31.
L’Amoreaux says a part of her success at center-mid has been proper footwork and always listening for her teammates’ calls. But there are intangible aspects as well, such as team chemistry. That’s why she makes an effort to become friends with each of her teammates both on and off the pitch.
“It’s so important because you need people to trust each other,” L’Amoreaux said. “When you’re friends with everyone it just makes that trust so much easier.
“We put an emphasis on that because we want to be more like a team and being a team together and loving each other as family. That helps make a team better.”
L’Amoreaux experienced first-hand the benefits of having a strong bond with her teammates, as she credited her friendship with former Warren County star Kelsea Potts as the major reason for her success a season ago. Most of L’Amoreaux’s 13 assists last spring went to Potts, who scored 39 goals in a school record-shattering performance.
L’Amoreaux said she has a similar camaraderie with her teammates this season, and she’s already tallied a team-high five assists through the Wildcats’ first seven games.
“It’s not only just the ability to find teammates, it’s the ability to get the ball,” Carpenter said. “It seems like wherever she is on the field, I don’t know whether it’s field awareness and sense of the game, but she usually knows where the ball is going to be coming to. So you find that she usually is in possession of the ball whenever she’s on the field.”
There was a time, however, when L’Amoreaux wanted nothing to do with the ball while she was on the pitch — she admits to being scared of the ball when she first took up soccer at a young age.
Even when she joined Warren County’s varsity team two years ago, a lot of that insecurity on the soccer field remained.
“I was really quiet freshman year and I was just scared of everything and I didn’t feel like I fit in at all,” L’Amoreaux said. “I was just shy but now I’ve just grown into a better player and I communicate with my teammates and I’m not afraid to be on the field anymore. I’m not scared of what other people think of me.”
L’Amoreaux said she went through that transformation through her friendship with Potts, who helped her gain confidence in herself and her soccer ability.
“It made me feel a lot better just having her there supporting me all the time,” L’Amoreaux said.
Knowing that she would graduate into her own leadership role as a junior, L’Amoreaux opted to take a similar approach with her younger teammates this spring.
“I just kind of took what Kelsea did to me and brought me under her wing, I’m like doing that for other people now,” L’Amoreaux said. “I just like to help others get into things. Now I’m just taking people under my wing like she did and just helping them out and making them more confident about themselves. And I’m making a bond with them, so it’s working really well this season on the field.”
Warren County is 4-3 as the Wildcats approach the midway point of the regular season, and L’Amoreaux — who has also scored two goals this season after scoring three in 2014 — said one of her top priorities is to continue to help her teammates improve on the pitch. That, and to continue to build on her career assists record now that she’s got the hard part out of the way.
“It’s pretty awesome. I’m really excited and I’m just going to keep building it up so hopefully nobody can beat it,” L’Amoreaux said with a laugh.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org