In football, strikers are primarily judged on one criterion – goals. It can be argued that of all the players on the pitch, it is those the most forward, the strikers, who have the responsibility to win their team games. One striker who has lit up the UAAP Season 78 Women’s Football Tournament is rookie Shannon Arthur.
Arthur, despite being only a rookie, has already scored five goals in just six games this season. Two of those goals were scored against the University of the Philippines last Sunday (April 10, 2016) at the McKinley Hill Stadium as she salvaged a draw for La Salle. She could have scored another one before full-time, but she unleashed the shot too soon and the chance went begging.
At the end of the match, though, Arthur – like the rest of the team – had disappointment etched onto their faces. Arthur said, “More on disappointed that we drew. We wanted to end this season with a sweep but we underestimated UP, unfortunately, so I guess this was a lesson to learn.” She then explained that La Salle head coach Hans-Peter Smit wanted his players to consider the result a loss, because they hadn’t play like they should have. “We didn’t play to our advantages. We didn’t instill the things that we learned in practice.”
The disappointment was also extended to Arthur’s performance. By all accounts, Arthur played well, but it’s the chances a striker misses that hurt the most. “I wanted to score a third goal. After the second goal, I was like ‘okay I really need to score a third goal’ because I was just very happy that I did for the sake of the team. More of disappointed that I missed too many shots honestly, but I’m glad I scored those two,” Arthur said.
“Never underestimate your opponent. Keep your feet on the ground and stay humble,” was the biggest takeaway for Arthur. She admitted that La Salle had simply been overconfident. “I guess we just didn’t expect UP to give us this hard of the push. Honestly they gave us such a good fight and we just didn’t expect it. We didn’t expect this. We really need to work harder than ever.”
With games against the University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University left in the elimination round, Arthur knows what La Salle must do to make up for those two points dropped. “Our target is to win the next two games by a lot (of goals) to make up for this, to prove to people we’re still the top team. We can still be the top team.”
Speaking of rookies, Arthur and her fellow neophyte, Sara Castañeda, have taken the UAAP by storm. Both players have reinvigorated a La Salle side that had failed to reach the finals in three seasons. In fact, while Arthur has scored five goals, Castaneda has gone one further and is currently the league’s top scorer. Of her fellow rookie, Arthur said, “She’s my roommate too so I guess we always push each other. Sara really always pushes me, the team. We just try to push each other because we don’t want the fact that we are rookies to define us. It’s like not that we can’t start, we can’t do this.”
Before entering La Salle, however, Arthur narrated that it was an easy choice. “One time I trained in the summer with La Salle and I just said, ‘Wow, this was the team for me! I wanna be here and not with anyone else.’” She currently takes up Biology and dreams of becoming a dermatologist. In the present situation, however, her thoughts mirrored a virus which needed an antibiotic in order not to worsen.
“I think maybe if we did sweep the round, we would have underestimated the Finals so this is a really good learning experience for us. The fact that we drew this game, it’s a pushing factor to push us and make us think like, ‘Oh can we do this?’ and know in our hearts that we really can.”
And they really can. Maybe being your own worst enemy is worse than having a direct rival as you risk imploding. La Salle’s draw against UP might come out as a much-needed blessing in disguise if the Lady Archers end up with the championship come May.
If they do indeed finish the job, then Arthur would have contributed something valuable: goals.