"Pain will subside — the point at which you give up determines what you gain."
Century's girls soccer team brought a poster, with that motivational quote on it, to practices and games to help them remember why they were all there. Hard work, perseverance and dedication to the game — the Knights utilized these qualities to find success, and it starts at the top.
Century coach Sara Figuly was recently awarded with the 2016 National Federation of State High School Coaches Associations Coach of the Year award. In addition, she was also recognized with the 2016 NFHS Mideast Sectional Coach of the Year award.
Figuly has been at the helm of the Knights for 13 years and said she was surprised when Century athletic director Randy Pentz told her he nominated her. She received a phone call Wednesday, her 35th birthday, notifying her that she was the recipient of the award.
"In a way, it's made me speechless a little bit," Figuly said. "I set high standards for myself and I definitely don't expect to get anything like this. Once you do get that phone call or award, it makes you realize that I have to be doing something right. It definitely makes me feel proud and happy.
"I also think of the girls, my assistant coaches, our athletic director and the support I get from the school because without the help of them all, we wouldn't be as successful."
The Knights are 61-10 over the last four years under Figuly. They've won five straight county titles and a Class 2A state championship in 2013. The Knights have also made two consecutive appearances in the Class 2A West Region final.
Figuly played Division I soccer at Kent State before graduating in 2004. That fall, she moved to Carroll County and served as a Knights assistant coach before accepting the head coaching position the following season. She currently teaches special education at Robert Moton Elementary.
Thirteen years later, she says she wouldn't want to coach anywhere else. She implements a stern foundation to her team from the start — playing time is a privilege, not a right, and it's OK to work hard and have fun while you're doing it.
"In practice, it's made clear that you're not going to get playing time if you don't deserve it," Knights senior defender Allison Schaffer said. "We had trouble with the midfield and center mid and how to keep possession, so she tried a lot of new players there and it proved to us that you really do have to earn your time. You might not get a lot, but those 5-10 minutes you do get on the field, you're expected to play your best and put forth any effort to try and help the team."
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. The three-time Times Girls Soccer Coach of the Year (2013, 2015, 2016) said these awards are a reflection of the Knights' success over the years.
"You have to put in a lot of time and dedication with anything in life," Figuly said. "A lot of things don't just come overnight and we want to emphasize to the girls that a lot of these things you apply on the field can be applied outside in real life. I strive to be a better person than I was the day before so you're always working for the next best thing or the next goal that you want to achieve.
"I think at the end of the day, as long as you can say, 'I did my best and I did my job,' that's all you can do."