COUDERSPORT — Under the most ordinary of circumstances, goalkeepers face immense amounts of pressure during soccer games as they try to keep their respective teams in games.
Factor in a female goalkeeper playing in a boys’ league, and the pressure can get that much more intense. And yet, for Coudersport goalie Rosalyn Page, each game seemed to be just another day in the office.
Page, a Coudy junior, has been the Falcons’ starting goalkeeper for a couple seasons now, and has more than proved her mettle in District 9 against her male counterparts.
In 2019, Page and the Falcons finished 11-7 and as runners-up of the District 9 Class A postseason. Page posted a pair of shutouts and 189 saves as the Falcons came within one win of making the state playoffs.
“Sometimes I don’t know how she does it. It takes guts and a lot of mental fortitude to be in a position like that,” said Coudersport head coach Erich Zaun. “She doesn’t seem to crack much.”
For Page, the trick is to remain positive in all circumstances, and to maintain constant communication with teammates.
“It’s always staying positive and building each other up,” she said. “Once one of us gets down, we all do. So if I stay positive, the others stay positive. It’s really just working together with my teammates and communicating. That’s a huge part of the game.”
That team, she says, is close-knit and always looking to improve, too. Page says she and a few teammates frequently stayed after practices this past season to get extra shots and saves in, which yielded plenty of strong results for Coudy.
For her part, Page got started in goalkeeping in middle school, and then when Coudersport needed a backup goalkeeper her freshman year, she assumed that role.
“It was much harder than I thought it would be,” she acknowledged. “It’s very rewarding, though. I didn’t know what to expect at such a fast level. Our starting goalie, Hunter Lauber, trained me and showed me the ropes and taught me all I know today about it. It’s been really great.”
It’s been great for the Falcons, too. Zaun says Page has become a bit of a role model for the team, and particularly to the handful of other female athletes on the team.
“I don’t ever see her mentally or physically cracking, and it’s something the other teammates look up to, especially the other three female athletes we have on the team,” Zaun said. “They look up to what she’s doing back there and the way she handles everything.”
Page understands that role, too, and says she hopes her consistent play is a positive message for other girls in her situation.
“You just have to try your hardest. You can’t see yourself as a girl in a guy’s sport,” she said. “You have to just see yourself as an athlete. You do have to work harder just because of the situation, but it’s definitely possible to achieve your dreams, no matter what team you’re on.”
And with that attitude, Page has a few more things she wants to accomplish next year in her senior season.
It starts with making it out of the District and into the PIAA state playoffs — a tall order for a Coudy program losing a lot of its offensive firepower, but one she feels the Falcons can accomplish with some hard work.
Beyond her high school career, though, Page wants to continue to play soccer at the next level.
“I’m starting to look into college. I want to go to (a service) academy, but definitely want to play soccer in college,” Page said.
Playing at an academy could be on either the varsity team or through a club or intramural team. Wherever she ends up, she intends to study aviation or aeronautical engineering.
Page also enjoys a busy life away from soccer. The junior is also a member of the Coudersport girls basketball team, softball team and track team. When she’s not playing sports, she’s showing horses year-round, too, along with learning new instruments such as guitar, piano and saxophone.
As for offseason athletics, though, Page wants to play on a girls travel soccer team in the summer, and then on the Corporate Cup team.
No matter where she plays, Page wants to represent the town of Coudersport the best she can.
“I love that it’s a small school, and we do so well in sports,” she said. “There’s so much heart and teamwork and every player on every team I’ve played on has gone above and beyond… I love the people here and Coudersport and playing for them.”