Prep soccer still trying to fill backfield


Girls kicking balls

Navajo Times | Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi
Navajo Preparatory School junior Naakii Brown works on her ball handling during practice on Monday at Navajo Preparatory School. Brown is one of the main leaders on the team this season as they embark on another challenging season. The Lady Eagles are 1-2 so far this season.

Adversity is nothing new to the Navajo Preparatory School girls soccer team.

The team, which has worked diligently to establish itself in the local soccer scene, has faced many obstacles along the way, and this season is no different.

Navajo Prep head coach Stacy Irwin said his team has always worked hard to show how competitive they can be and it usually comes with an extra hurdle. The hurdle this year is that the team is trying to fill most of its backfield.

“I did lose my whole back line and my goalkeeper. We’re kind of in a rebuilding in that area,” he said. “But these last three games we finally figured out who we need back there and everything, and how we’re going to take care of it.”

The Lady Eagles are three games into the season and are 1-2 so far. In the Socorro, New Mexico, tournament over the weekend, Navajo Prep lost to Cleveland junior varsity 10-0 (but took them to a complete game), defeated Hatch 4-2, and lost to Grants 6-0.

Irwin said while the competition was tough it was exactly what his team needed to start filling its back line.

“The girls learned a lot from them (Cleveland). They started off slow with Hatch and came back in the second half, so we know we can do it, and with Grants we changed up positions and it kind of answered more questions for us,” he said.

A young but ambitious team has been the secret to their competitive nature so far this season.

Irwin said having leaders like junior Naakii Brown and senior Tionna Garner also doesn’t hurt.

“Naakii is a fielder and goalkeeper, she has really shown strong leadership on both ends of the ball,” he said. “Tionna, she really came on strong last year, so she’s also stepped up and led the charge in the midfield.”

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Categories: Soccer

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at or via cell at (505) 686-0769.