Unsung Hero: Jaime Clark Verbeck

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By Ashley Smith
By Josue

CARTERVILLE -- A local girls soccer team is enjoying a lot of success this season after going almost an entire year with no wins.  The players and their parents say its all thanks to their head coach. 

"We really lost every single game for the first many months, maybe the first year," said Southern Illinois Elite Futbol Club Legends Coach Jaime Clark Verbeck. 

Win or lose, the Legends girls soccer team says they always have fun when they're together.

"Being on the team is really fun and I get to hangout with them a lot," said nine-year-old Emma Underwood.

"I like being on the team because I have a bunch of friends on the team," said eight-year-old Sydney Gillman, "and they're really fun to be with and they're really nice."

When the team was just starting, they learned a lot about losing. But all of that is a distant memory this season.

"It was routinely 12-0, 13-0 we've lost one 20-0 and then this year they've shifted and they've actually won 10 in a row.," said Jaime.

Head coach Jaime Clark-Verbeck had the idea to start a club team a couple of years ago when her daughter Haylee was playing on a co-ed team and not getting many touches on the ball.

Fellow soccer parent Herb Underwood says his daughter Emma is doing much better on the all girls team thanks to Jaime.

"I think it's all about Jamie. It's been her coaching, her loving. She's been a role model for them, a mother an aunt, a sister, just the perfect role model," said Emma's dad Herb Underwood.

Jaime gives credit to her hard working players and their loved ones.

"We have a really great group of kids and parents and supporters. They've been very passionate about it from the start," said Jaime.

The girls may be adding to their winning record but that isn't all they're learning.

"Focusing on what it takes to be successful, not just you but as a team, how do you work together in that way," said Jaime, "They're really good friends off the field too. We spend a lot of time just working on communication and teamwork and they're very close. They're all best friends and I think they helps them stay united."

"I'm not as concerned with the wins and the losses as much as I want her to first of all enjoy it. Jamie's said from the start that she's trying to build good people," said Sydney's dad Jason Gillman.

Jason Gillman says his daughter Sydney has found more than just a coach in Jaime.

"Jaime has opened her heart, she's opened her home to our children, she takes care of them. I think all the girls know that Jamie loves them and that was primary. And the other part of that is Jamie is such a good role model," said Jason.

"She's really nice and she cares about us and she helps us work hard and I learn new stuff," said Sydney.

Even Jaime's daughter Haylee says she's a great coach!

"Because she really helps us learn new things and she's really nice," said nine-year-old Haylee Lambert.

But if you ask Jaime, all of the players are like her own.

"It doesn't seem like just a die hard soccer team, it seems like a family at this point," said Jaime.

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