Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2023
Raegan and Reese Williams give the West Forsyth girls soccer team an interesting dynamic
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
Sisters Raegan and Reese Williams have been playing soccer most of their lives, but because of their three-year age difference, they haven’t had much of a chance to play on the same team with each other.
They did play on the same middle-school team at Redeemer School, a private Christian school in Winston-Salem. But now, Reagan, a senior, and Reese, a freshman, are teammates on the West Forsyth girls soccer team.
“We played middle school soccer when I was in eighth grade and she was in fifth grade, but that’s the only other time we’ve ever played on the same team together,” Raegan said, “We both play on ECNL teams, which are just like national travel teams, but we’re in different age groups.
“So, we’re not actually on the field together, but we do get to travel and train together a lot.”
The sisters have obviously known that they would be on the same high-school team with each other this season, but other than having that sisterly bond, that’s something for which is hard to prepare.
“It’s actually kind of funny,” Raegan said. “Just looking over and it’s like, ‘Wow, Reese is here.’ But so far, I’ve enjoyed it.
“It’s kind of more light-hearted at practice this year maybe where in past years, like being an underclassman, you’re always looking up to someone. And this year it’s kind of like I am the person that is being looked up to.”
And for Reese, not only is she the freshman center-back for the Titans, one of the leaders on the team is Raegan, who is a midfielder.
“It’s really fun,” Reese said. “I feel like the team chemistry is really good this year. And the upperclassmen have done well, making the underclassmen feel comfortable and a part of the team. Because it’s weird just being with upperclassmen as a freshman.”
The Titans lost six players off last year’s team that went 15-6-1 overall and 12-0 in the Central Piedmont 4-A.
“I would say more than half the team are underclassmen, which is very insane,” Raegan said. “So, I feel like that’s been kind of a good thing for the underclassmen because they feel maybe a little less intimidated coming into that environment.
“Because when I think back to my freshman and sophomore year there were one or two freshmen that made the varsity team. It’s just a huge difference.”
There are four freshmen on this year’s team.
“I think being on the field together has been really fun and it’s grown our relationship, because we’ve been together a lot more,” Reese said. “I think it gives us something to talk about because we’re on the same page, going through the same thing.”
Coach Scott Bilton knew well before this season that he would have a chance to coach both sisters on the same team.
“They’re very different,” Bilton said. “The two girls are very, very different. Raegan is very reserved and honestly fairly quiet. Reese comes in and hasn’t met a stranger and starts talking to people.
“And Raegan is much more reserved, which is kind of fun.”
Bilton has seen some sister combinations in his time as the head coach, but this dynamic is interesting because of the age difference.
“I’ve had a few. And of course most recently the McGuirts (Avery and Victoria), who were the twins. And that was really cool to have them,” Bilton said. “But this has been a fun one in the fact that there is a three-year age gap, and both of them just being phenomenal players to be able to play on the field at the same time together.”
The two sisters have had a chance to practice together since Feb. 13, but games just started last week with the Winston-Salem Soccer Spectacular. West Forsyth defeated Davie County 4-1 in the first round and followed that two days later with a 3-0 win against Atkins in the semifinals.
“To kind of like succeed together because we’re both on the field working our butts off, and then we get to celebrate the win together,” Raegan said. “And we know how the other person is feeling after a game.”
The night after the Atkins game, West Forsyth played county and conference rival Reagan in the championship. West Forsyth won the championship 4-1 and the two sisters had a chance to celebrate after the game.
“It was really exciting, too, because it was Reagan,” Reese said.
West Forsyth (3-1 as of Tuesday morning) lost 2-0 Monday night at Greensboro Page and played Hickory on Tuesday night. West Forsyth opens Central Piedmont 4-A play on March 15 at Mount Tabor.
“Having three girls of my own, people always told me you’ll be amazed how different your kids are,” Bilton said. “And I never really believed it because it just didn’t make sense to me that they would be different. And now as I’ve watched my own kids grow up it’s amazing to see the differences.
“And now being able to coach several sets of sisters, just seeing that they can be extremely different while still having of course some similar qualities. Their personalities can be completely different.”
Raegan will be graduating in June and will be going to the University of North Carolina as a freshman in August.
“It’s definitely bittersweet because like I’m really excited to be at Chapel Hill next year, but soccer has been such a huge part of my life, and I decided not to play in college,” Raegan said. “But a part of me feels like I’ll be lost without it.”
And next season, Reese will once again be without her older sister on the team, and even as a sophomore for the Titans, she will get the opportunity to show more of that leadership role.
“It’s definitely going to be a lot different,” Reese said. “I try not to think about it too much, so when it comes it’s just going to be a reality check for me.”