Refuse to Lose: Shawna Sawall’s soccer career


Gavin Stevens, Journalism 1 Staff

Junior soccer player Shawna Sawall listens to Travis Scott’s rap songs before each game in order to get pumped up and ready to take on the opposing team.

A 16-year-old junior, Sawall has been playing soccer since the age of six. She plays travel soccer in the fall and plays for the Portage Lightning team and the PNHS team. She was first introduced to soccer in the spring of 2008 by her older sister, who had already been playing soccer for roughly four years. “I was first interested in playing soccer when I watched my sister’s games. I just grew to like the sport,” Sawall recounts. She joined her first official team at age six for AYSO Soccer and continued playing for three years.

Currently, Sawall’s preferred position is attacking center midfielder. Her job is to distribute the ball to outside mids or forwards. This is her favorite position because she has been playing that particular position for almost eight years. “ I’m usually the one who helps people achieve scoring opportunities,” she explains. Her favorite part of soccer is being able to meet new people and learn how to work together. Sawall’s teammate Rebecca Netz enjoys the commoaraderie between her and Sawall. “We’ve been playing travel soccer for four years, and we also play high school soccer together as well,” she says. Sawall’s coach, Russ Mitchell, has been Sawall’s coach for about a year now. “ I first met Shawna a few years back,” he recalls, “but wasn’t her coach until this year.”

Russ Mitchell is the father of one of Sawall’s teammates as well as her neighbor. He has known Sawall since she was eight years old when he first saw her play in one of the many town rivalry games. “He is one of my favorite coaches that I have ever had because he does not yell,  and he gets the job done.”