At first, the game of soccer was something that Larissa Bailey started playing because she enjoyed watching her older sister play the game.
A few years later — and with some hard work — Bailey has helped the Lake City High girls soccer team win a state 5A title, a runner-up finish in 2015 and has eyes on another strong finish later this week as the Timberwolves (8-1-4) open at state today against Eagle (11-5-2) at Meridian High.
Her love of the game started at the age of 4.
“Since I was little, my parents wanted us to play a sport,” Bailey said. “I always loved soccer. My older sister (Kay) played it, and I always enjoyed going to the games and watching them, so I decided to try it.”
Fast forward a few years, and Larissa is in her third year on the varsity team, playing left back for the Timberwolves.
“The kid is a lockdown, great player,” Lake City coach Matt Ruchti said. “There’s not a kid that brings more to it and plays every second of every match the same way. What people watch and how she plays is exactly what you get from her. She gives 110 percent, and she had a great game (in the 5A Region 1 championship on Oct. 10, a 2-0 win over Post Falls to qualify for state).”
That lockdown mentality was something that was key for Bailey and her teammates during the 2016 state championship, when the Timberwolves held off Rocky Mountain 5-4 in penalty kicks to win the state title at Coeur d’Alene High.
“There was a lot of cards in that game,” Bailey said. “The refs threw a lot of cards out there, so I think us playing through it and working through it was a great memory. We all stuck together really well.”
Ruchti — who teaches junior U.S. history and senior economics — added her focus and drive is something that carries over into the classroom.
“I’ve had her in the classroom the last two years, and she’s a quiet kid,” Ruchti said. “She’s very reserved. As hard as she plays, you wouldn’t recognize that. She’s a great student, very respectful, and a good all-around kid who should definitely take advantage of playing at the next level.”
Press: What is your favorite movie?
Bailey: “I like comedies. Something to make me laugh. I like Melissa McCarthy and Will Ferrell. He’s pretty funny.”
Do you have a favorite pregame routine?
Bailey: “Not really. I like to listen to music to get me pumped up to play.”
What is something your teammates don’t know about you?
Bailey: “I love fish. I don’t know why. My dad and I built a pond last year and I buy new fish and put them in there. I like looking at new fish. I buy tanks and stuff like that.”
What are your future plans?
Bailey: “I want to go to college and become a veternarian maybe. I love animals. Right now, I’m looking at just house pets, cats, dogs. Otherwise, I like big animals too. I’ve got a dog, cat and fish and I used to have bunnies.”
What do you do for fun when you’re not on the soccer field?
Bailey: “I like to hang out with my friends a lot. With my dad, we go backpacking and camping a lot. Really anything outdoors. Hunting, I don’t like so much, but fishing and anything else outdoors is great.”
Favorite camping memory?
Bailey: “One year, my entire family backpacked into the Clearwater (River). The water was so warm. My sister, cousins and I used to make frog houses and find all these frogs and just swam all day. It was super nice and one of my greatest memories as a kid.”
What other sports do you compete in?
Bailey: “I used to do cross country, but it’s the same time as soccer so I had to give that up.”
What kind of music is playing in your car right now?
Bailey: “I’m listening to 96.9 right now. I’m not sure what the station is called, but that’s what I’ve got on right now. Listening to hip hop and stuff like that.”
What is the one thing you learned in school that you’ll carry for the rest of your life?
Bailey: “Treat everyone with respect. Wait your turn and stuff like that.”
What is the biggest fish you’ve caught?
Bailey: “I’ve got no clue. I don’t fish a lot, but when I do, they’re usually pretty small. I’ll go fishing in the summer, but not crazy often.”