It’s hard not to have an extra pep in your step after talking to Long Beach Poly senior soccer player Rachel Perry.
She’s energetic, kind, and “encourages” her teammates to be “motivated”.
“She’s the heartbeat of the team,” coach Anthony Perez said. “She has the work ethic you want and makes the best of a situation.”
When Perry was out with an ankle injury earlier this year and missed some key games, she created the loudest bench in the league.
There’s no group name. It’s only “The Bench” with a large megaphone and a bunch of girls willing to get loud in support.
“We just all like to pick and support each other,” Perry said. “We have a good time on the bench. The bench is fun. It’s turnt.”
There were plenty of chants and loud noises as Perry and crew helped the Jackrabbits in tough games.
Some weren’t too fond of the megaphone as one game, an opposing coach asked for it to be put away because the chants were too loud.
Perry, a third-year varsity player, said the ankle injury that put her on the bench happened during a preseason game. It forced her to miss games against Millikan and Wilson, both Poly losses.
However, on Jan. 4, the midfielder made her long-awaited return in a 6-0 win over Lakewood.
“It was hard leaving the bench,” Perry said. “Leaving the megaphone… you have to give it to someone else and trust that they say the right stuff.”
The Jackrabbits (5-2-1, 8-5-2) have lost only one game (to Huntington Beach) since Perry’s return and Perez said teams overlook her because of her size.
“She is shorter but can do it all,” Perez said. “I call her mighty mouse. Her size is how big she plays.”
Perry is a leader off the pitch as she tutors Japanese and math in her neighborhood. She also collects food and donates it to Long Beach State’s program for students with food insecurities.
She’s also involved in Girl Scouts, and when it comes to the cookies, Samoas and Thin Mints are her favorite.
“Buy Girl Scouts cookies.. Come through Rachel Perry,” she said with a smile.
The sport she began when she was four after begging her mom to sign her up for soccer is almost over at Poly, but Perry has signed with Emory University in Atlanta where she will study computer science.
After her days are up, she hopes the megaphone stays at Poly.
“We should get a Poly megaphone so it could stay on the bench!” she said.