ENOSBURG — Enosburg senior Sophie Burns stood out this season as one of the best offensive soccer players in the county.
Sophie scored 19 goals in ten games during the brief fall season, reaching a total of 45 goals in her four-year varsity career.
The shortened season may have prevented Sophie from reaching the 50 goal milestone, but it did give her great memories.
“I’m going to remember how my dad stepped in when we needed a coach,” said Sophie.
When she first asked her father, Rodney, to coach, he initially refused.
“He decided to do it, and we went undefeated and made it to the semifinals.
“I loved having my dad coach. We grew closer with the extra two hours we spent together each day.”
The Hornets went 9-0, before falling to Vergennes in the semifinal. Sophie shared a few games that stood out.
“We all had a really great game against Lake Region--the best we’ve had as a team. Even with Lake Region pressuring me, I was still able to score and to get the ball to my teammates,” said Sophie.
“The Richford game was also really fun; we played really well, and I scored the most goals I’ve ever scored in a game.”
The in-county games are Sophie’s favorites.
“I love playing against our rivals like MVU, Fairfax, and Richford; we play as hard as we can to see who’s going to come out on top,” said Sophie.
“MVU really marked me as hard as they could the entire game, but we still managed to come out on top even though I hardly touched the ball. It was so good to see the team all play so well.
“We beat Fairfax this year, which we haven’t done since my freshman year. They are always a tough team to play!
“It was such a short season, and everyone worked so hard. I’m glad I ended my soccer career with this season. I was so grateful to get to play this fall.
“I was so glad we could have fans and people were there to support us. It meant a lot.”
This was Sophie’s first year on the varsity team without her sister Hannah, who graduated last spring.
“Hannah is a big inspiration. We still push each other even if she’s not in a high school season,” said Sophie.
Sophie also thanked Renee Pattee and Nik Saborowski, assistant coaches for the Hornets.
“Renee and Nik are both awesome. Nik is really honest with us about what we need to do to play better,” said Sophie.
“Renee has coached me for years, and if I’m not doing my best, she’ll be the one to tell me. She’s not afraid to do what needs to be done to get us better.”
Sophie went into her freshman year hoping to hit the 50 goal mark for Enosburg.
She missed portions of her freshman and sophomore years due to injury, and COVID delays shortened her senior year. Her junior year was the only full season she played.
“If she had a full, 14 game season her senior year, she’d have most likely reached her goal,” said Hornet coach Rodney Burns.
“To see Sophie come so close to her goal, to have her play her senior year, and to make it to the semifinal, was really exciting for her and for me.”
Although reluctant to take the coaching position, Rodney was glad he did.
“I’ve always enjoyed watching her play, but having the opportunity to see her in practice was satisfying. Even in practice, she gives 110 percent,” said Rodney.
Sophie was named captain of the Enosburg girls’ varsity soccer team for the 2020 season.
“Sophie did a good job as a captain on the field; she’s always positive,” said Burns.
“She’s very respectful, but she does have that killer instinct when she needs it.”
This season, Sophie made some adjustments to improve her game.
“She’s very dominant to her left, and unless she’s double-teamed if she can get by her defender, she’s going to score,” said Rodney.
“She worked through the season on getting stronger with her right foot and had two goals from the right.”
Renee Pattee has coached Sophie in soccer for seven years.
“I have had the privilege of watching Sophie grow as a person and player. During coed soccer in the 5th and 6th grade, she was never afraid of practicing or playing with the boys,” said Pattee.
“She is a great athlete and a good leader, and she has never had a bad thing to say about anyone and never made herself more important than her team.
“She was always the one to pick up the girls, even though I know she was always hard on herself.”
Pattee was especially pleased with Sophie’s team focus, even when there were individual goals to be met.
“She came close to scoring 50 all-time goals but never took that away from the rest of the team; she kept the ball when needed and gave it up when she knew it would be better for the team,” said Pattee.
“Sophie is going to go far in life, and she has sports to thank for that. I think we all learn a lot as coaches and players; if you aren’t learning every day, then you’re not trying!”